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Bar owners continue fight to outlaw Alcoblow

03 March 2014, 17:53 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - A bar owner has moved to court to challenge the use of breathylsers by traffic police on drunk drivers on the roads.


In the petition filed by the Nairobi based bar owner, it is argued that the sheer act of consuming alcohol has been made a traffic offence irrespective of whether it has intoxicated the driver or rendered him unable of having proper control of the vehicle.


While the new breathalyser rules are meant to help in curbing road accidents, it is alleged that the rule allow apparent permission of consuming alcohol provided it does not exceed the prescribed limit.


“The breathalyser rule empowers a police officer to require a driver to subject himself to a breath test in the absence of a reasonable cause to suspect that the said driver has committed a traffic offence, the enforcement of the breathalyser in Kenya is so crude that no other democracy that uses it would approve the way it is being used in Kenya,” said Mr Kariuki Riutha.


The petitioners allege that in Section 45 of the Traffic Act, drivers of public service vehicles are absolutely prohibited from drinking any intoxicating liquor whilst Rule 3(1) redefines the offence to allow such drivers to consume intoxicating liquor provided that it does not exceed the prescribed limit.


It is further alleged that the breathalyser rules are contradicting and that the Transport Cabinet Secretary has no powers under the Traffic Act to create, define or redefine new or existing traffic offences.


The bar owner claims that since late December, last year, breathylser rules have been enforced in a manner that has adversely affected bar owners businesses and violated their rights and fundamental freedoms.


The bar owner also claims that the use of police road blocks erected outside entertainment facilities and gates of middle class estates to enforce the impugned rules is demeaning, dishonorable, cruel and degrading to motorists whose lifestyles embrace social drinking.


They are seeking an order to prohibiting Parliament, the National and County Governments or other State organs from enacting or making any legislation or rule that presumes Kenyans have no freedom to choose their preferred lifestyles in determining how much alcohol a Kenyan can lawfully consume.


The Transport Cabinet Secretary, the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Public Prosecution, the National Transport and Safety Authority and the Attorney General as the respondents in the suit filed by Kinoti and Kibe Advocates.

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