Compulsory testing after hospital admission
The police do not have the power to require a person to have a blood test. However a doctor must take a blood test from anyone aged 10 years or more and who is admitted to hospital after a road accident unless there is a good medical reason why the blood sample should not be taken [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47I]. The provision only applies to a hospital declared under Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014 (SA).
Similarly, a doctor must take a blood test in the circumstances prescribed above and where a child aged under 16 years was present in the vehicle at the time of the accident [see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47I(7)]. Specific penalties apply if a person refuses to submit to a blood test in these circumstances.
Refusing a compulsory blood test
The blood test must be done as soon as possible after the person is admitted to hospital and within eight hours of the motor vehicle accident. It is an offence to refuse the blood test to be taken without a good medical reason [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47I]. Penalties apply for refusing to submit to a compulsory blood test, including a fine and a mandatory licence disqualification - see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) ss 47I(7), 47I(14) and 47I(14a). Police have the power to issue an immediate licence disqualification for these offences [see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47IAA].
Procedure for blood tests
The blood sample is divided into two equal portions, one of which is given to the police to be analysed and the person is given a notice advising that the other sample may be collected and separately analysed as a check against the police analysis. If the person is not given the opportunity of an independent analysis, the police analysis cannot be given in evidence. The blood sample is to be kept for collection for a period of 12 months from the date the sample was taken. If independent analysis of the sample is required it is recommended that this be arranged as soon as practicable using one of the independent pathology groups listed under Pathology Laboratories in the Yellow Pages.
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