Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing | Western Cape Government

Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing

(Western Cape Government)

Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing (EBAT) was officially reintroduced in the Western Cape on 1 August 2016.


This EBAT system uses a machine that can read the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. It then produces a printout of the results which can be used as evidence that could lead to a court conviction.

How the EBAT differs from blood tests

  • The results are immediate.
  • Motorists whose alcohol level is below the legal limit can be released immediately after receiving the results.
  • With blood tests, the motorist can be detained overnight or until the end of the weekend and can spend months facing legal uncertainty.
  • Cases of motorists who fail the EBAT test can be dealt with quickly using the results of this test.

How EBAT works

  • Initially the EBAT machine, which can read how much alcohol is in a person’s breath, will be used at the Shadow (Safely Home Anti-drink Driving War Room) Centre in Athlone.
  • It is called “evidentiary” as the reading can be produced as evidence to prosecute people accused of drinking and driving.
  • EBAT flyerWhen tested, two breath samples must be taken. If the lower of the two EBAT test results is not less than 0,24 mg of alcohol per 1 000 ml of breath, the driver will be charged.
  • The instrument will be fitted with a temperature sensor in the hose to regulate the exhaling breath of the subject.

Don’t drink and drive

The results of drinking and driving can be tragic.

Safely Home lists the possible consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol:

  • Killing someone else
  • Losing your own life
  • Imprisonment
  • Criminal records
  • Legal costs

Read more on Safely Home’s website.

The traffic offence code book includes the current legislation and contravention code for motorists who are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Read more on the Department of Transport and Public Works’ role in the fight against drinking and driving:

Watch: When you choose to drink and drive

The content on this page was last updated on 2 November 2017