New alcohol rules in South Africa by December: minister

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that government plans to introduce new legislation around drinking and driving by December 2020.

In a media briefing on Tuesday (25 August), Mbalula said that the Road Traffic Amendment Bill was introduced in parliament in June 2020, with the legislation effectively introducing a 0% alcohol limit for all motorists.

The minister said that under the amended act, no one will be able to drive a vehicle, or occupy the driver’s seat while the engine is running, with any concentration of alcohol in their system.

“Research conducted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council and the University of South Africa shows that driver alcohol intoxication accounts for 27.1% of fatal crashes in the country.”

“This is estimated to cost the economy R18.2 billion annually,” Mbalula said.

“As indicated by this study and many observations including the recent death of TMPD officers, we need to strengthen the law and ensure that Innocent lives are saved.”

— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) August 25, 2020

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 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.

Read: Claims of imminent alcohol and cigarette ban not true

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New alcohol rules in South Africa by December: minister