South Africa’s strict new drunk driving laws are coming – and they could include harsh punishments

 ·5 Feb 2020

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that government plans to introduce a zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving, with new regulations to be introduced by June 2020.

Mbalula that his department will introduce a 0% legal blood-alcohol limit, meaning that drivers will not be allowed to drink alcohol and drive, at all.

This new restriction will work alongside the new Aarto Act which will introduce South Africa long-awaited demerit system which could see drivers lose their licenses if they accumulate enough traffic fines.

Speaking to BusinessTech, Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane said that the group also intends to push through on it plans to introduce harsher punishments for drunk driving.

This will include a plan to push driving under the influence from a schedule 2 offence to a schedule 5 offence, placing drunk driving in the same ‘category’ as rape and murder crimes.

It also wants arrested drivers to spend at least seven days behind bars before they can be considered for bail.

Zwane said that the RTMC is in talks with the Department of Justice about the changes, adding that any legal amendments will need to go through the full public commentary process.

The National Road Traffic Act (NRA) currently enables those who have consumed alcohol to get behind the wheel provided they are under the blood alcohol limit.

These laws differentiate 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.

Read: Expect more roadblocks and police checkpoints ahead of South Africa’s new drunk driving law

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