The Road Traffic Management Corp (RTMC) is pushing for tougher drunk driving rules ahead of the festive season.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, the RTMC has proposed to the Department of Justice that driving under the influence (DUI), speeding and reckless or negligent driving be reclassified in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Notably it is pushing to change DUI from a schedule 2 to a schedule 5 offence, which would place drunk driving in the same ‘category’ of crimes as rape and murder.
It also wants arrested drivers to spend at least seven days behind bars before they can be considered for bail.
Makhosini Msibi, CEO of the RTMC, admitted that part of the reasoning behind the proposed rules was due to the rising financial costs of road accidents for the government.
However he noted that the system was also flawed in that drunk drivers could be out in jail within hours of being arrested.
“Currently, if we arrest you for drunk driving you can be granted bail in terms of section 59 of the Criminal Procedure Act, and the senior person at the police station can offer bail,” said Msibi.
“But if we then escalate it to schedule 5 or schedule 6, it should be a formal bail application in court.
“Above all, it must not be automatic, you must spend seven days before you can bring the application for bail,” Msibi said.