Zero tolerance for drinking and driving a reality

Zero tolerance for drinking and driving a reality

The future could yield a new policy being implemented by government that prohibits the consumption of any alcohol whatsoever, when operating a vehicle. The current limit for drivers is 0,05 ml of alcohol in their blood, which equates to roughly 500 ml of beer or a glass of wine.

The Sowetan reported that Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, held a meeting with other government officials where it was decided that the Cabinet will be approached and presented with a case for zero tolerance for alcohol on South African roads.

This isn’t the first time that this has been mentioned by a government official. It was raised during an address regarding the state of road safety in South Africa by the Minister of Transport, Ben Martins, when he outlined some of his department’s priorities – one of which is to “do away with the current alcohol limit”.

Martins adds that the Department of Transport will review existing legislative instruments to identify areas that need strengthening and further improvements. “Among others we will review the current alcohol limit, support the total ban on alcohol advertising and harsher measures for serial and habitual offenders (including naming and shaming them), stringent criteria for driving licence applications and school campaigns on road safety.”

The address came before the Easter period this year, which, along with the December period, yields the two biggest spikes in terms of road fatalities – each with over 100 fatalities every year. A large proportion of these are alcohol related. This, coupled with an estimated 1 000 deaths on the road every month of the year, contributes to a staggering 40 road fatalities every day – most of which are pedestrians.

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