JIS News

The Traffic Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has improved its complement of trained breath analysts from 33 to 58, following the recent conclusion of a course for 25 officers.
“The breath analyzing course was done last week [July 21-25] and it directly involved 25 persons, who were mostly from the Corporate Area and St. Catherine,” Head of the Traffic Division, Superintendent Fred Hibbert, told JIS News.
“We have been going right across the island and we have a number of people already trained. We now have increase from the 33 we had prior to the training exercise,” he added.
According to the Traffic Chief, the objective of the breath analyzing course was “to teach persons how to detect excessive alcohol both in the preliminary test using the SD 5 and the confirmatory tests using the intoxilyzer 8000 machines.”
“The training covers the ability to breath analyze as it relates to alcohol because one of the main concerns is that we have motorists, who are driving under the influence, so the idea is to reduce the amount of driving . while they are under the influence,” Supt. Hibbert explained.
He said that once drivers are suspected of being under the influence and their alcohol content is higher than the 35 ml per 100 ml limit, then they will be ticketed and charged.
Supt. Hibbert reasoned that if drivers know they will be punished for their actions, the number of accidents on the roadways will decrease.
“If we continue to do what we are doing, motorists will realize once they are involved in an accident and they are found to be driving under the influence and continuously being punished for it, then it means less people will be drinking and driving and then we have less collisions and fatal accidents and the result is that we will save the amount of problems we are having,” he pointed out.
The Traffic Division currently has 20 intoxilyzer 8000 machines that do the more advanced tests and 200 of the SD 5 machines that the officers travel with daily. “We have just started to use the machines properly because for a while, our people were not trained. They have just recently been trained so we are now in full it should put us in a position to be far more professional and efficient in our duties,” the Traffic Division Head said.
He again cautioned drivers to desist from drinking and driving. “We constantly advise the public to avoid drinking and driving because once you drink, it impairs every part of your ability to think and see. It affects in every way, your ability to rationalize distance, so it is always advised that once you are going to enjoy yourself with the use of alcohol, get a dedicated driver who is not drinking to drive for you,” he advised.
In the meantime, Sergeant Leroy Christopher, Island Coordinator for the training course, explained that the participants were trained on how to effectively use the equipment.
“I have been trained in the use of the SD 5 and the intoxilyzer 8000, which gave me the competence and the knowledge to conduct the training. We have increased the number of analysts we have so you can now call and get somebody at your fingertip to operate the intoxilyzer 8000 in the Corporate Area,” he informed JIS News.
Drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol can be charged in excess of $25,000 through the courts, although the judge can exercise discretion on the matter.