At any recreational and social event where alcohol is present, it is not unusual for visitors to get a little – or very – tipsy. In fact, alcohol induced merriment at South African recreational events is fairly common and can, if not controlled, lead to accidents and injury. In order to minimise alcohol related road accidents, South African legislation dictates a limit as to how much alcohol a person may consume before driving a vehicle. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to tell who is or isn’t inebriated before a person climbs behind the wheel or handlebars of a vehicle – a concern at an event such as the South African Bike Festival, where people of varying ages and varying levels of experience ride motorcycles. How then, are alcohol related accidents be avoided and related laws and safety regulations enforced?

Rhys Evans, Director of ALCO-Safe, who recently attended the South Africa Bike festival in May, tells us that breathalyser tests are one of the most effective and accurate ways of measuring a person’s alcohol intake.

“Use of a breathalyser test before engaging in an activity, such as riding a motorcycle, can ensure that a person is sober enough to do so,” says Evans. “A person exhales into a mouthpiece attached to a breathalyser device, which then measures the alcohol content on the person’s breath and gives a reading based on this. The reading will accurately confirm whether or not a person is within the prescribed alcohol limits for driving a vehicle.”

ALCO-Safe are suppliers of superior drug and alcohol testing equipment and accessories throughout Africa, including the breathalyser tests which were used at the SA Bike Festival. At the event, motorcycle vendors allowed anyone meeting the suitable criteria, namely that the candidate has a valid license and be in control of their faculties, to test drive their motorcycles. ALCO-Safe was there to conduct tests on each driver before they took to the track.

Despite the requisite indemnities being enforced, motorcycle vendors need to take every measure to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries. It is therefore imperative that they ensure the people riding their motorcycles are competent and capable, and this means that they need to be sober.

“But this goes beyond events,” says Evans. “Any company concerned with the safety of anyone entering their premises, using their facilities and operating their machinery, needs to make sure that the person doing so is in full control of their mental and physical faculties. In this way they can minimise their risk and maximize their safety.”

Evans adds that while indemnities go a long way to ensure a business – or event exhibitor – is absolved of any legal ramifications that arise from alcohol related accidents, they do not prevent them from happening. According to Evans, the only way to eliminate alcohol related incidents is by ensuring that alcohol limits are adhered to, which can only be measured through effective testing methods, such as the use of a breathalyser.

More and more companies are making use of breathalyser testing before admitting anyone onto their premises. For sites that are particularly sensitive to safety, such as mines and factories, alcohol testing is taken quite seriously and not without reason. Such sites are held accountable, often publicly, for any safety incidents that occur on their watch, and they need to be especially cognisant of ways to avoid safety issues. With proper alcohol testing before admitting entry to a premises – or allowing operation of company equipment, including vehicles – not only are alcohol related incidents contained, but companies with a ‘no drunkenness’ employee policy can ensure their staff are sober and, therefore, productive.

“Maintaining a safe environment extends beyond sporting and recreational events and needs to be enforced at every possible turn,” concludes Evans. “It is therefore critical that any company concerned with the safety of their employees and visitors invest in alcohol testing equipment to enforce this.”


Rhys Evans

Managing Director

Tel: 012 343 8114