File picture: Masterdrive via Motorpress.
File picture: Masterdrive via Motorpress.

Here's how the new drunk driving law could leave you uninsured

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Jun 18, 2020

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Johannesburg - Those hoping to sip a beer or wine with dinner at their favourite restaurant will soon find themselves on the wrong side of the law as the powers that be have decided to make the drinking and driving laws even stricter, rather than actually enforcing the existing rules more effectively.

A new draft law, which has already been approved by cabinet, brings the legal limit down to zero, and it could be in effect by the end of this year. The current blood-alcohol limit is 0.05g per 100ml, which gives a bit of leeway to those that are drinking lightly and responsibly.

The zero limit, authorities say, will make it easier to enforce the drunk driving laws. There's no denying that action needs to be taken, with the World Health Organisation reporting in 2015 that South Africa had the highest rate of alcohol-related road deaths in the world.

But being caught in a roadblock isn’t the only thing that motorists will have to worry about after the law takes effect. Have an accident and it could lead to your insurance claim being rejected.

This is according to King Price customer experience partner Wynand van Vuuren, who says that insurers have the right to refuse to pay accident claims if the driver’s blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. This clause is present in almost every car insurance policy in South Africa.

“Previously, it was difficult to determine whether people were over the legal limit, and whether their driving ability was in fact impaired. The new zero-tolerance approach removes this grey area,” Van Vuuren explains. 

“If you break the law by driving with alcohol in your blood, your insurer will have no obligation to meet your claim”.

These laws could also affect your insurance premiums. Get caught drinking and driving, and the insurance company will label you as a high-risk customer.

But there is a potential upside regarding premiums, as Van Vuuren explains:

“While the new law will potentially reduce the number of accidents caused by drunken driving, it won’t immediately affect premiums. However, if we see fewer accidents due to fewer drunken driving incidents in the longer term, we may see premiums coming down due to lower claims costs for insurers.”

Drivers wanting to party it up after the lockdown is relaxed are urged to rather use a ride hailing service or a drive-you-home offering such as Roadtrip, which sends a driver to take you home in your own car.

IOL Motoring

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