Cloud-linked breathalysers: a technological breakthrough.

3/26/2024 2:12:00 PM

Cloud-linked breathalysers: a technological breakthrough.

Cloud-linked breathalysers: a technological breakthrough.  

By Rhys Evans, Managing Director at ALCO-Safe

The fight against drinking and driving is an ongoing battle often exacerbated by the prevalence of police bribery. In many instances, citizens are willing to take the risk of driving under the influence, knowing that a bribe could buy their freedom. However, cloud-linked breathalyser technology holds the key to reducing both the dangers of drunk driving and the corrupt practices of some police officials.

“Imagine a scenario where police officers at a roadblock are equipped with breathalysers connected to a cloud-based platform. Each test creates a digital footprint, making it virtually impossible to tamper with or to manipulate results”, Rhys Evans, Managing Director at ALCO-Safe explains.

The instruments connect to a Bluetooth app or a smartphone, which then transmits the results to a cloud-based platform. Such an approach allows for real-time monitoring and reporting without the need for manual downloads, which makes it possible to efficiently track and manage breathalyser test result data.

Targeting policing efforts effectively

Cloud-based data reporting systems offer an additional layer of efficiency by enabling law enforcement to target testing initiatives more effectively. By utilising the data gathered from breathalyser tests, law enforcement can draw statistical insights from the cloud-based data, such as the prevalence of positive tests in specific areas or during certain time periods. This information empowers law enforcement to strategically allocate resources, focusing on high-risk areas and demographics. Importantly, this data allows for targeted campaigns during peak periods, such as holidays, to address specific challenges associated with drinking and driving. However, in many instances, while law enforcement may have a number of breathalyser instruments at their disposal, there are often no set targets in place for them to facilitate testing, resulting in random testing.

“In order for breathalyser testing to be truly effective in reducing incidences on the roads, there needs to be a minimum set number of tests performed per day, and per month. Creating these types of targets ultimately forces law enforcement to set up roadblocks and test people on a daily basis”, Evans said.

Ensuring privacy and security

While the implementation of cloud-linked breathalysers offers numerous benefits, there are often associated potential privacy concerns that must be addressed upfront. Fortunately, the technology operates without storing personal information, mitigating privacy issues, as the data primarily consists of time, date, test number, and results, maintaining anonymity for individuals tested. Although privacy is implicit, ensuring the security and integrity of cloud-linked breathalyser data is critical. Implementing password-protected dashboards and integrating body cameras or vehicle cameras into the testing process can safeguard against officer tampering and unauthorised access, which will effectively uphold the reliability and trustworthiness of the data collected.

International benchmark and future prospects

“While South Africa is taking strides toward implementing modern breathalyser technology, there is still a notable gap compared to more mature markets. European countries and Australia have successfully integrated similar systems, showcasing the potential for widespread adoption. Despite the current gap, the technology is available, and with concerted efforts, South Africa can bridge this divide and join the ranks of nations making use of cloud technology for enhanced road safety. The integration of this technology will not only have a significant impact in addressing the immediate challenges of drinking and driving but will also tackle the deep-rooted issue of police corruption. Combined with a commitment to education and transparency, such technological advancements can see South Africa paving the way for safer roads and contributing to a more accountable law enforcement system.” Evans said.

By creating a more efficient system for handling drunk driving offences, cloud-linked breathalysers contribute to safer roads. The technology reduces the likelihood of bribery, which has a deterrent effect that encourages responsible behaviour, and streamlines law enforcement processes. With proper education and implementation, South Africa can leverage cloud technology to create a robust and accountable system that significantly reduces the prevalence of drinking and driving.


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