The Department of Transport is proposing a complete ban, which is zero alcohol levels, for drivers. The proposal is outlined in the draft National Road Traffic Amendment Bill. The bill states:
“No person shall on a public road (a) drive a vehicle or (b) occupy the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle the engine of which is running while there is a concentration of alcohol in any specimen of blood taken from any part of his/her body”
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 bill was first proposed in 2011 by then Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele who had been in meetings with the Automobile Association in 2 years before it was proposed in Parliament.
Xolani spoke to Professor Charles Parry of the Medical Research Unit who has been quoted as saying ‘an analysis of alcohol control policies has found that there is a correlation between consumption and restriction, the more regulation the less people drank’.
While Parry supports the bill in principle, he recommends a 0.02ml limit because it’s possible to get a positive reading from certain medications or even eating chocolate with a little bit of alcohol in it.
We need to separate drinking and driving because the damage is so great we need to do something differently to what we’re doing at the moment— Professor Charles Parry, Medical Research Unit
Parry also recommended that the government reconsiders what sanctions they implement for those who are found with alcohol in their blood.
Justice Project SA Chairperson, Howard Dembovsky also joined Xolani on the radio to express his emphatic agreement with Professor Parry.
I don't think we would be creating any confusion whatsoever in telling people 'you may not drink and drive' because effectively a level of 0.02 would be equivalent to less than one beer so it would be very clear to people that they may not drink and drive— Justice Project South Africa Chairperson, Howard Dembovsky
Listen to Xolani Gwala's conversation with both Professor Charles Parry and Howard Dembovsky.
The bill is currently out for public comment and Dembovsky encourages 702land to make their contribution to the bill before it's passed.