It is estimated that about 50% of people who die on South African roads have a blood alcohol concentration level above 0.05g per 100 millilitres, which is the maximum legal blood alcohol limit.
It is well known that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic drugs. “Alcohol affects vision, judgment, balance and reaction time. Because even one drink affects you, one should not drink and drive at all,” says the AA.
The Automobile Association continues to lobby for legislation regarding the blood alcohol concentration level to be dropped to at least the professional driver limit of 0.02g per 100 millilitres, which will limit the legal amount of alcohol consumption to the equivalent of less than one beer.
“We fully support the Provisional Licence initiative. This will see new drivers restricted to a zero alcohol level, plus restrictions on the number of traffic offences on the “P” licence for a period of three years. Any proven offence will see the Provisional Licence withdrawn and the driver will have to start from a Learner Licence again. This is one of the innovations the AA is keen to see come into effect with AARTO as soon as possible”, said the AA.
One in every fifteen drivers on the road after dark is over the limit. Morning rush hour bumper bashings are likely as a result of the previous night’s drinking, with the cost of crashes and injury to the economy estimated at around R110 billion per annum.
The fallacy of sobering up quickly by gulping down a quick espresso is just that, a fallacy. Your liver has the task of dissipating the alcohol in your body, which happens at a rate of 0.02mg per hour.
The maximum punishment for drinking and driving is R120 000 and/or six years imprisonment, including the suspension of your driver’s license. Drunk drivers found to be over the limit are arrested, locked up and bundled with other criminals until sober after which they are charged.
If you are involved in a crash while you are under the influence, it will impact on your insurance payouts. Because you have committed an illegal act by driving under the influence, short-term insurers, life insurers and the Road Accident Fund can, and will, refuse to pay out claims. “Drinking and driving should be something that responsible South African drivers see as an absolute abhorration and flagrant disregard for other road users,” the AA concludes.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180