By Jenni Evans and Jenna Etheridge
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) allayed fears that a hot cross bun could land you in jail for drunk driving after a video of a breathalyser test showed a startling result after an officer ate one of the Easter buns in a test.
“The Corporation would like to assure members of the public that they will not be arrested unfairly after eating hot cross buns,” said RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane.
This comes after a video was circulated of a traffic officer tested before and after eating a hot cross bun from Checkers.
Munching away, the officer “Mr Williams” commented on how tasty the hot cross bun is, but was shocked to see the reading immediately afterwards.
News24 reported earlier that the reading appears to show an increase in the breath alcohol content from zero to 0.21mg per 1 000ml.
Checkers stated that its hot cross buns contain no alcohol, and Warren Prins, Head of Traffic and Licensing in Nelson Mandela Bay where the experiment was conducted, explained: “A hot cross bun has raisins, sultanas and yeast that ferments when consumed. When a breathalyser test is done immediately after eating a bun, it will register a high alcohol level due to the effects of all these elements on the breath content,” Prins said.
“However, when a test is taken a minute later, it will again register a reading of 0.00. The video on social media only shows the first part of a test to illustrate the variables officers must be aware of when testing citizens with a breathalyser apparatus.”
Prins said the training video was intended to show the difference between a mouth and lung sample.
Zwane also assuaged hot cross bun fans by explaining that the device used is a screening instrument, and the first results obtained from it have to be validated through further tests before an arrest can be made.
“The purpose of alcohol testing device is to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration in the body specimen. The video shows mouth alcohol concentration which is not sufficient evidence to charge a motorist for drunken driving,” he said.
Zwane said standard practice after an alleged drunk driver has blown into the screener is that the driver will then be taken to an evidentiary breath alcohol tester (EBAT) which has equipment that is calibrated by National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) for accuracy.
That result is the only one to determine whether to arrest a driver, or not.
The EBAT machine requires that an officer take two breath samples with 15 to 20 minutes allowance between the tests.
The EBAT machine will record an error where mouth alcohol is detected.
“This will be the case with the video as shown where an officer immediately blew into the screener without [a] waiting period.”
If the EBAT machine concludes that the alleged driver is intoxicated, the results of a test conducted on the EBAT machine will then be used for prosecution.
“The validity and accuracy of the evidential breath alcohol tester, recently launched by the national Minister of Transport, is in no way affected by what is shown in the video.
“It is regrettable that this video has surfaced and caused alarm at this critical period of the year when high traffic volumes and alcohol consumption are expected over the long weekend.”
He stressed that information obtained from an alcohol screener cannot be used in court for prosecution purposes other than it being used as a detection for alcohol consumption.
“The RTMC wants to assure the public and the fraternity in its totality that there is no sinister motive to unfairly prosecute the public with an untested measuring instrument.”Municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron said the clip is only one part of a training video and citizens can safely enjoy all their non-alcoholic treats this weekend.”There is no way you will be arrested for eating a hot cross bun.”