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Will enforcing zero-tolerance drunk driving law turn into logistical nightmare?

21 June 2020 3:39 PM
Tags:
Drunk driving
Aarto Act
Fikile Mbalula
Department of Transport
Road fatalities
Drinking and Driving
COVID-19
zero tolerance
Warren Tucker

Under the new law you won't be able to have a single drink before driving, as you can't have any alcohol in your blood whatsoever.

Currently the concentration of alcohol in your blood must be less than 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres if you want to get behind the wheel (and less than 0.02 gram for professional drivers).

Under the new law, you won't be able to drink and drive at all.

In January, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that the department would go ahead in June with a 0% legal blood-alcohol limit.

We are going to be intolerant to drinking and driving. We’re going beyond saying there’s some percentage – it must be zero percent. It’s going to be zero. No alcohol in the blood – and the law is going to bite with regard to that.

Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Transport

Considering the high level of road fatalities recorded every year due to drunk drivers, this makes sense says motoring journalist Warren Tucker.

Well, on paper, at least.

If the existing laws are not always enforced properly he asks, how will officers deal with the changes if they're not properly trained?

If you look at the existing drinking and driving laws, they're quite strict... You can have the best law on paper but if the person or the people that are tasked with enforcing this law first of all don't understand the law, haven't received adequate training in how to enforce this law, you end up with a similar problem again.

Warren Tucker, Motoring journalist

Tucker points out that the 0% rule also raises new problems - some medications contain alchohol, and what about the use of hand sanitizers during the Covid-19 crisis?

We are sitting in a situation where we're using hand sanitizer 24/7 - a lot of them really reek of alcohol. A lot of the time the metro cops will stick their head into the vehicle to see whether you've been drinking, to get a smell out of the vehicle.

Warren Tucker, Motoring journalist

Insurers have pointed out that while they've always had the right to reject your claim if it's proven your blood alcohol level was over the legal limit, the new law removes any grey area for argument.

And again, do you want to fill the prisons up with serious and violent crime or do you want to fill the prisons up with drunk drivers?

Warren Tucker, Motoring journalist

Tucker also takes a look at the driving demerit system set to be implemented under the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act as well.

Listen to the discussion in the audio below:


21 June 2020 3:39 PM
Tags:
Drunk driving
Aarto Act
Fikile Mbalula
Department of Transport
Road fatalities
Drinking and Driving
COVID-19
zero tolerance
Warren Tucker

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