The NTSA use of alcoblow breathalyzers to nab drunk drivers on Kenya’s highways is illegal, the Court of Appeals has ruled.
The ruling was delivered by a three-judge bench who said that the ruling was inconsistent with the Traffic Act and ordering it to be taken back to Parliament for review.
The ruling does not prohibit the use of alcoblow for other purposes and can be used to measure levels of alcohol consumed.
A drunk driver however cannot be charged under the rules which established alcoblow.
The appeals court judges said that when drunk drivers are caught, they should be charged under traffic laws.
According to Rule 3( 1 ) of the breathalyzer rules, the device cannot be used to charge people as it is incapable of creating an offence.
The ruling was delivered after Kariuki Ruitha the owner and proprietor of Reminisce club on Lang’ata Road launched an appeal.
He had sued the state claiming to have been a victim of alcoblow.
His decision to sue arose from the fact that police regularly checked his patrons leaving Reminise for alcohol consumption.
Ruitha said that the introduction and use of alcoblow infringed on the rights of Kenyans as the constitution guarantees citizens the right to make lifestyle decisions which includes how much alcohol to take
He further told the court that alcoblow had delivered a big blow to his business costing him 80 percent of his customers and resulting in the layoff of 29 employees.
He also had to terminate contracts with 15 artistes.
On June 9, 2014 High Court judge David Majanja ruled in favor of the transport ministry saying that they had powers to make rules, among them measures for enforcing traffic laws.