Start Submission

Reading: Novel tools for assessment of drunken driving: are they legal within the Sri Lankan jurisdic...

Download

A- A+
Alt. Display

Systematic review/Review Articles

Novel tools for assessment of drunken driving: are they legal within the Sri Lankan jurisdiction?

Authors:

S. Kodikara ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About S.
MBBS, DLM, MD; Professor of Forensic Medicine
X close

A. Izzath,

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, AU
About A.
Fellow
X close

S. Wijerathne,

Teaching Hospital, Kandy, LK
About S.
MBBS, DLM, MD; Consultant Judicial Medical Officer
X close

P. Jayasooriya,

Base Hospital, Mahiyanganaya, LK
About P.
MBBS, DLM, MD; Consultant Judicial Medical Officer
X close

M. Kudagama

Teaching Hospital, Rathnapura, LK
About M.
MBBS, DLM, MD; Consultant Judicial Medical Officer
X close

Abstract

Digital breathalyzer and the saliva alcohol test have become modern tools to detect drunken driving and widely used by forensic physicians in teaching and general hospitals in Sri Lanka. This paper appraises the legal validity of the digital breathalyzer and the saliva alcohol test within the Sri Lankan Jurisdiction. Saliva alcohol test is noninvasive, on the spot screen test, which gives quantitative results in fewer than five minutes using a saliva sample. Digital breathalyzer is also a reliable tool to detect high, moderate and low alcohol intake. Both these tests have been approved and certified by worldwide organizations and have received  international recognition. Their usage has been validated in many other jurisdictions. However. according to the Motor Traffic Act of Sri Lanka, the breath test for alcohol shall be carried out by a police officer. Therefore, opinions framed by forensic physicians for the cases of drunken driving by means of the digital breathalyzer, is contrary with the current law of the country. Neither the binding judgement of Nalinda Kumara Vs Officer-In-Charge of Police, Kandy nor the Motor Traffic Act of Sri Lanka speak about an assessment of blood alcohol level using saliva. Therefore, using saliva alcohol test and framing opinions on it has no legality and could be challenged in a court of law. Considering the importance of these novel tools for a fair administration of justice, its validation should be done by amending the Motor Traffic Act of Sri Lanka and related regulations, without any delay.

How to Cite: Kodikara, S., Izzath, A., Wijerathne, S., Jayasooriya, P. and Kudagama, M., 2021. Novel tools for assessment of drunken driving: are they legal within the Sri Lankan jurisdiction?. Sri Lanka Journal of Medicine, 30(1), pp.90–93. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljm.v30i1.233
Published on 01 Jul 2021.
Peer Reviewed

Downloads

  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus