As South Africans chug-down our new found freedom with regards to the sale and purchase of alcohol products under the Level 2 regulations, it seems there are going to be certain changes to the law pertaining to drinking and driving, just in time for the holiday season.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the government is working towards introducing a new bill, which will be pushing for a zero-per cent alcohol level for all motorists. Yes, you read that correctly, a zero percent alcohol level for all motorists.
The Road Traffic Amendment Bill means no person may drive a vehicle while there is any concentration of alcohol in any specimen of blood taken from any part of his or her body which is not less than 0,05 gram per 100 millilitres.
Mbalula stated this on Tuesday, August 25, while introducing the new lockdown level 2 transport regulations.
The National Road Traffic Amendment Bill was initially approved by Cabinet in March, but it still needs to receive the green light from Parliament.
According to Mbalula, road accidents involving drunk drivers cost South Africa’s economy approximately R18.2-billion annually.
Mbalula says the government intends to implement the new legislature around drinking and driving by December 2020. It was initially meant to be implemented by June of this year, but due to the global pandemic, the law was put on hold for a while.
As Mbalula and the government look at implementing the new law, the Automobile Association (AA) says changing traffic laws relating to drunk driving is meaningless and will be ineffective if current laws that regulate alcohol and driving are not properly implemented and enforced first.
The AA believes drinking and driving can be more effectively combated by the courts imposing tougher sentences on offenders.
“The current enforcement of drunk drivers will not stop those who regularly exceed the limits because there are simply no consequences for their actions,” the AA states.
The association adds the zero BAC limit is not going to change this behaviour.
Furthermore, the AA notes the proposed move to reduce the legal limit to zero does not take into consideration the fact that some medications such as cough syrups may contain alcohol.
In these cases, drivers may find themselves with criminal records for taking one dose of this medication when it will have no material effect on their driving ability.”
As the government now looks at amending the law in regards to alcohol consumption and driving, do you feel they are justified? Or do you feel the government should look at other avenues in enforcing road safety?
Share your thoughts and views with us in the comment section below.