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Fiji Time: 4:34 PM on Monday 21 April

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LTA targets drunk drivers

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, December 08, 2012

THE Cabinet has agreed that Section 103 of the Land Transport Act 1999 be amended by inserting a new subsection to define the word "fail".

Under the amendment, a statement said a person would fail to undergo a breath test or breath analysis if he did not provide a sufficient specimen of breath to enable the test or the analysis to be carried out.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Section 103 of the Land Transport Act 1999 created an offence for a person who failed or refused to undergo a breath test or breath analysis when required by a police officer.

He said that when providing a specimen of breath, if a person blows into the breathalyser but fails to provide a sufficient sample, it would read as "insufficient sample".

The minister said the courts held that since the person had complied with the law in that they have neither failed nor refused to provide a breath specimen, the charges could not be sustained.

The A-G said since an insufficient sample did not amount to "failing" to provide a specimen of breath, this resulted in drivers, driving under the influence of alcohol to purposefully provide an insufficient breath sample when blowing into the breathalyser.

He said this lacuna in the Act resulted in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions recently withdrawing a number of charges.

He stated that given the trend of drivers under the influence of alcohol, over the Christmas period there was an urgent need to amend the Act to allow the DPP's Office to lay charges and successfully convict the offenders.