The Department of Transport has announced that it plans to introduce the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill to parliament in the coming weeks.
While it is not clear what effect the current coronavirus lockdown will have on the introduction of new laws in South Africa, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has previously indicated that he aimed to introduce the new legislation by June 2020.
The biggest changes proposed by the new legislation include:
- A zero-tolerance policy on alcohol consumption by drivers;
- Increased penalties for those who fail to comply with traffic rules;
- Stricter regulations for the driving-school industry and the standards under which learner drivers must be taught.
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.”