Strict new driving laws for South African motorists gets the green light

Cabinet has approved the submission of the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill of 2019 to Parliament, with the proposed legislation set to introduce a number of changes for South African motorists.

“The bill proposes amongst others regulations for the driving-school industry and proposes appropriate standards under which learner drivers must be taught,” said the minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu in a statement on Thursday (12 March).

“It also deals with fraud and corruption within the road traffic environment, increases penalties for those who fail to comply with traffic rules; prohibits alcohol consumption by drivers and proposes the national number plate legislation.”

It was not specified how it plans to increase penalties for motorists, but government has spoken at length about its plans to introduce a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving in South Africa.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed in January that his department was moving ahead with a 0% legal blood-alcohol limit, meaning that drivers will not be allowed to drink alcohol and drive at all.

The National Road Traffic Act (NRA) currently has small limits in blood alcohol levels, that allows drivers behind the wheel if they have been drinking and stay within the limits.

These laws differentiate between normal drivers and professional drivers (those 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.

“We are going to be intolerant to drinking and driving,” Mbalula said at the time. “We’re going beyond saying there’s some percentage – it must be 0%. It’s going to be zero. No alcohol in the blood – and the law is going to bite with regard to that.”

Read: New laws aim to regulate Uber and other e-hailing services in South Africa

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Strict new driving laws for South African motorists gets the green light