New drunk driving rules proposed for South Africa

 ·1 Jun 2020

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has formally introduced the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill to parliament.

The bill aims to introduce dozens of new traffic and motoring-related changes including further regulations around driving schools, licences and traffic wardens.

Arguably the biggest change relates to a new zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving,

Clause 46 introduces a total prohibition for the use and consumption of alcohol by all motor vehicle operators on South African public roads.

It does this by deleting reference to any alcohol content in the blood or breath specimen of motor vehicle drivers on the road in South Africa.

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.

Mbalula announced that he would introduce a 0% legal blood-alcohol limit in February 2020.  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.

The bill will now follow a full consultation process including consideration by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.  If it is approved, it will then be assented to and signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

You can read the full gazette below:

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