Ban on alcohol for drivers bill welcomed
Johannesburg - Lobby groups have welcomed the government move to introduce a new law that will not allow drivers to have a drink before getting behind the wheel.
Caro Smit, of South Africans Against Drunk Driving, said although the country already had laws, the proposed new legislation was much-needed. “At the moment our laws are good... It will work if it is strictly enforced,” Smit said.
She made the comment days after Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told journalists that the Cabinet had approved the submission of the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill to Parliament.
“Once passed into law, the bill will contribute to reducing the carnage on our roads,” Mthembu said.
The bill proposes, among other things, regulations for driving schools and standards under which learner drivers should be taught.
“It also deals with fraud and corruption in the road traffic environment; increases penalties for those who fail to comply with traffic rules; prohibits alcohol consumption by drivers; and proposes national number plate legislation,” he said.
The bill will also streamline the powers of the transport minister and MECs responsible for transport.
According to Mthembu, the bill would go a long way to deal with driving under the influence of alcohol.
“Our laws do not allow drink and driving. We are strengthening those laws,” he said.
“One of the major causes of death on our roads are those people who drive under the influence,” he added.
Smit said it was legal for professional drivers to get behind the wheel if their blood-alcohol level was under 0.05g per 100ml.
The QuadPara Association of South Africa (Qasa) also welcomed the planned introduction of the bill to Parliament.
Qasa chief executive officer Ari Seirlis said there should be zero consumption of alcohol by drivers.
“It must be zero. Too many people become quadriplegic because of accidents caused by drunk drivers,” Seirlis said.