The Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation are reviewing South Africa’s drunk driving laws.
They aim to drop the legal blood-alcohol level to 0%, meaning that drivers will not be allowed to drink alcohol and drive at all.
The National Road Traffic Act (NRA) currently differentiates between normal drivers and professional drivers (those drivers who hold professional driving permits).
For normal drivers, the concentration of alcohol in any blood specimen must be less than 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres, and in the case of a professional driver, less than 0.02 gram per 100 millilitres.
Speaking to the Weekend Argus, Department of Transport spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine said if given the green light, the new proposals will become part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system which establishes a new demerit system.
Major drunk driving problem
The latest 2018/2019 crime statistics from the South African Police Services shows that the country has a high rate of drunk driving.
According to the report, there were 82,912 reported cases of drunk driving over the time period – a decrease of -3.8% compared to the 2017/2018.
However, it should be noted that the number of people driving drunk on South African roads is likely significantly higher as the above statistics only include incidents reported to the police.
The majority of these cases were reported in Gauteng, followed by the KZN and the Western Cape.
The area with the most reported incidents was Durban Central, followed by Point (KZN) and Germiston (Gauteng).