Smell n’ tell tack faces public snubLack of breathalyser devices has hindered traffic police in Kathmandu Valley from conducting sobriety test effectively.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) has only 15 functional breathalysers, far fewer than is required to book drunk drivers without them denying their offence determined based on smell of alcohol on their breath.
Without breathalysers, traffic officers are left with their olfactory ability to tell if a driver has been drinking. And there are always those who, even if they had been drinking, are quick to question the test method.
“Our officers frequently get into altercations with drunk drivers who deny their offence” said MTPD Superintendent Posh Raj Pokharel.
If a person refuses that he or she is driving under the influence, Pokharel said, the only way to prove the offence is blood alcohol test.
“In such cases, the offenders have to be taken to the hospital to confirm that they were indeed drunk while driving,” Pokharel added.
The anti-drink driving campaign was launched in December 2011 to reduce road accidents. Almost all breathalyser devices that were introduced at the initial phase of the campaign are not functional. Pokharel said MTPD has more than 200 defective breathalyser devices from the early days of the campaign.
“We need at least 50 breathalysers in Kathmandu Valley alone to make the campaign effective,” Pokharel said. “Our jobs would be easier if every unit mobilised for anti-drink driving campaign has at least two breathalysers.”