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Easy Breathalyser Testing in Your Fleet: See How to Safeguard Your Business

In the blink of an eye, a single case of driving under the influence can cost your business hundreds of thousands in significant legal and financial losses and shatter your driver’s personal life. 

That’s the sobering reality of not mitigating drunk driving issues in your fleet. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, thanks to advanced breathalyser interlock fleet technology.

Let’s take a look at how this invaluable device can help you easily enforce safer and sober driving in your business

In this article, you will:

  • Get a comprehensive explanation of what breathalyser testing is
  • Understand what the breathalyser rules in South Africa are
  • Explore the unique benefits of using breathalyser testing within your fleet
  • Uncover Cartrack’s alcohol breathalyser solutions for your fleet management
  • Discover how to use breathalyser testing to help drivers with their well-being

What is breathalyser testing?

‘Breathalyser testing’ involves using a diagnostic device to estimate a person's blood alcohol concentration level from their breath. 

According to the National Institute of Health, two types of breathalyser tests can typically be conducted on motorists: preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or evidential breath tests (EBTs). PAS tests are smaller, portable devices typically used by law enforcement officers to test motorists for drunk driving. EBTs are more reliable devices law enforcement uses to test breath samples at the police station. 

To combat drunk driving and reduce the risk of road accidents, many countries have also implemented alcohol ignition interlock devices for commercial fleets and DUI offender programs. Alcohol ignition interlock devices prevent drivers from starting or driving their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. 

Breathalyser testing using these devices helps businesses ensure that employees do not drive, or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of alcohol.

What are the breathalyser testing rules in South Africa?

In South Africa, employers cannot rely solely on breathalyser test results to determine if an employee is under the influence of alcohol. While breathalyser tests can be a helpful tool, they must be accompanied by additional evidence, such as blood tests.

However, employees can be prohibited from resuming their duties when they get a positive result that is above the legal or preset limit by the business. This means that even if the employee is not visibly under the influence, or claims not to be under the influence of any alcohol, you can prevent them from continuing work as usual and ensure their safety. 

Implementing stricter policies about driving under the influence and positive results from alcohol testing is something really worth considering. According to Arrive Alive, companies with strict policies prohibiting the consumption of alcohol before and during working hours are more successful at prioritising health and safety in the workplace.


The benefits of breathalysers

By implementing robust policies promoting responsible driving habits, and investing in solutions like alcohol ignition interlock devices for breathalyser testing, you can create a safer environment for your employees, the community, and your business. Ultimately, the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention. 

Here are some benefits of implementing breathalyser testing in your business:

  1. Promotes safety and responsibility

    Drunk driving is a leading cause of road accidents, with devastating consequences for everyone involved. Your employees and innocent bystanders can sustain serious injuries or even fatalities.

    Witnessing or being affected by a drunk driving incident can also significantly impact your employees' morale and sense of safety. This can lead to decreased productivity and employees feeling discouraged in the work environment.

    Regular breathalyser tests in the workplace can deter employees from drinking on the job, promoting responsible behaviour and reducing the risk of accidents in the workplace. By identifying intoxicated individuals on the job, health and safety officials can make the relevant decisions to remove them from the workplace and prohibit them from operating any heavy machinery, helping to prevent potential injuries and liabilities.

    Implementing alcohol ignition interlock devices for your fleet can also deter your drivers from consuming alcohol, or attempting to drive under the influence. These devices are used in confidence by fleet and freight companies, transporters of dangerous goods and professional passenger drivers such as public transport drivers and e-hail drivers.
  2. Avoid liabilities

    Accidents stemming from drunk driving may lead to exorbitant business costs. Companies can end up facing vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost productivity, and potential lawsuits, and the financial burden can quickly spiral out of control, jeopardising your business's stability.

    Drunk driving carries severe legal penalties, including hefty fines, license suspensions, and even jail time for employees caught drunk behind the wheel. These legal repercussions can tarnish your company's reputation and lead to further financial losses.

    News of a drunk driving incident involving your fleet can also severely damage your business's public image and customer trust. Negative publicity about your business can be detrimental to your business’s brand image and long-term success.

How Cartrack’s breathalysing device and technology works

Businesses can combat DUI issues with their drivers and prioritise driver and fleet safety with Cartrack's Alcohol Breathalysers. Our breathalysers use cutting-edge technology that interlocks with your vehicle’s ignition. Should the driver get a positive breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) result that is above the legal or preset limit (i.e. they fail the breathalyser test) the vehicle can be prevented from starting. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Prevents intoxicated driving

    This device seamlessly integrates with Cartrack's Start ignition and Start Prevent technology. This allows managers to directly prevent vehicle ignition if a driver's breath alcohol concentration exceeds a legal or pre-set limit.
  2. Real-time alerts if drivers fail the breathalyser test

    Should a driver fail the breath tests, the results are instantly reported via the Global System for Mobile (GSM) to your control centre, and the vehicle will immobilise as soon as the ignition is turned off, allowing for immediate intervention and support from the fleet manager.
  3. Comprehensive recording

    Every test, pass or fail, on the device is stored in the unit's memory for detailed reporting and analysis. Driver behaviour reports can easily be accessed on Cartrack’s Fleet Pages at any time. The information is seamlessly made available with an encrypted RD-download of data from the vehicle to your PC.
  4. Override function

    The device is equipped with two override functions, offering flexibility in emergencies. A once-off reprogrammable override function can be used to keep the vehicle mobile and in the event of a technical failure, an emergency override PIN code can be issued by the control centre.
  5. Innovative features

    The device can distinguish between mechanically stimulated and human breath samples using Electronic Counter Circumvention Measures (ECCM) so drivers cannot bypass the test. It also features advanced fuel cell sensing technology, and LED indicators to make it more user-friendly for drivers.

Easy software implementation and verification

Cartrack's Alcohol Breathalysers are CAN-Bus enabled. This reduces installation time and enhances the system’s capability. The breathalysers seamlessly integrate with Cartrack’s fleet management system.

All the features are programmable to meet your fleet business challenges and can also consider the legal and judiciary requirements. 

Businesses can take other measures to ensure there is no tampering with the breathalysers or attempts to bypass the system. For example, Cartrack AI SmartCabin Cameras are driver-facing and use AI facial recognition to detect the position or orientation of the driver’s head and eyes. 

These cameras are designed to detect distracted driving gestures like mobile phone use, smoking, or signs of driver fatigue such as yawning, which could potentially cause accidents. Fleet managers can also use these cameras to see whether the driver is intoxicated, or if they have attempted to use someone else to do the breathalyser test for them. 

In addition, for mobile workers, such as delivery drivers and field service workers, fleet managers can set up breathalyser testing as a pre-trip inspection to ensure drivers are safe on the road. Since fleet managers can't watch their drivers every move, they can set up a pre-trip checklist to ensure drivers do the breathalyser test every time and they can verify this with reports from the fleet management software.


Cartrack’s cost-effective solution and long-term benefits

While breathalyser testing may require an initial investment in devices, training, and implementation, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial costs. 

Cartrack's alcohol breathalyser is a cost-effective solution, that delivers immediate benefits today and helps you mitigate any drunk driving risks in the long run. 

Here are a few rewards your fleet and drivers can reap from using Cartrack’s breathalyser technology:

Benefits for your fleet:

  • Reduced liability and risk: Proactively prevent accidents and legal repercussions associated with drunk driving.
  • Enhanced driver accountability: Foster a safer and more responsible driving culture within your team.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Minimise downtime and disruptions caused by alcohol-related incidents in the work environment.
  • Compliance with regulations: In some industries, breathalyser testing may be mandatory or highly encouraged to comply with regulations and safety standards.
  • Reduce insurance costs: Insurance companies often offer lower rates to companies with strong safety measures, including breathalyser programs.

Benefits for your drivers

  • Encouraged to act responsibly: Drivers will avoid excessive drinking when they use company vehicles, travel long distances for work or operate heavy machinery within the business.
  • Training opportunity: Drivers can be trained on the risks of driving under the influence, and regulations and disciplinary procedures when it comes to breathalyser testing. Which can help them reduce risky behaviour.
  • Non-liability: In an accident, drivers can also be held non-liable by having evidence and reports proving they were not under any influence while driving or operating machinery.
  • Enjoy a safer environment: All employees get to enjoy a safe environment knowing their co-workers are acting safely when operating heavy machinery or generally working.

Bonus benefit: A long-term win-win for businesses and driver well-being

Introducing alcohol breathalyser testing can be a delicate subject. Drivers and employees often feel targeted by managers or businesses when things go wrong. One of the ways you can build the relationship between managers and drivers is to create a supportive and helpful environment. Instead of aiming to punish and dismiss employees who fail an alcohol breathalyser test, you can see it as an opportunity to treat alcohol abuse and alcoholism with the utmost sensitivity. 

Drivers can experience a sense of confidence and trust in managers that test results will be treated confidentially. They can also trust that fleet managers are there to help them if they are struggling with alcohol use. Doing this is a positive step towards improving employee well-being and morale.

For example, imagine that one of your top-performing drivers fails an alcohol breathalyser test and cannot resume their work for the day. Instead of immediately dismissing or disciplining them, you could assist them in getting professional help, saving your business the time and money to replace highly skilled employees.

Here are other changes you can make to promote your driver’s well-being:

  • Return to duty alcohol testing - conduct random and regular testing for accountability by helping employees who are DUI offenders or who are in rehabilitation return to their work.
  • Employee assistance programs (EAPs) - offer confidential access to the program that allows drivers to get the professional support and guidance they need in a safe and conducive environment.

Ready to implement breathalyser testing that looks out for your drivers and business?

Protect your drivers and business with easy-to-use breathalyser technology

Implementing breathalyser testing for your drivers and employees is a strategic way to enhance safety, reduce liability, and foster a responsible work environment. 

Cartrack Kenya can get you started with alcohol interlock breathalyser technology. Contact us for a demo and more information.

Boost safety & minimize liability in your fleet with breathalyser testing. Create a responsible workplace environment effortlessly.