Knowing how many units of alcohol are in each drink that you consume at a dinner party or on a big night out is vital, says local organisation South Africans Against Drunk Driving (Sadd).

The organisation’s Caro Smit said that while it supported initiatives such as the Cape Argus and Department of Transport’s Name and Shame campaign - in which the names of people convicted of drinking and driving-related offences are published in the newspaper - it was vital that people learn more about alcohol.

For instance, Smit said, people needed to be informed about how to measure a unit of alcohol.

“Apart from putting people’s names in (the newspaper), you need to tell them what a unit is… so they can moderate their drinking,” said Smit. “They don’t know, for example, that if you’ve got a big party one evening and the next day you have a hangover, you’ve still got alcohol in your system.”

The legal limit for drinking and driving is 0.05g blood alcohol and 0.24mg breath alcohol content. One unit of alcohol, equivalent to a 25ml shot of tequila or vodka, will measure 0.02g in blood and 0.10mg in breath.

The organisation has put together a list of commonly consumed alcoholic drinks and explained how many units of alcohol are contained in each. For instance, a cider contains two units; 75ml of red wine contains one unit; 90ml of white wine contains one unit and a quart of beer contains 3.5 units.

Smit said the Name and Shame campaign would be made even more effective if it contained an educational element. More education and tougher laws, she said, were crucial for dealing with the problem of drunk driving.

Regular law enforcement operations at which drivers were breathalysed and tested for alcohol were also important, she said.

“I have driven all over South Africa since 1969 and I have never been tested for alcohol. We have to be tested over and over again so people know they can’t take a chance.”

Today, the Cape Argus names and shames 56 people who have been convicted in court for driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or over the limit.

The names are the latest to be sent by the courts to the provincial transport department for capture on the eNatis computer system.

They are being named as part of the newspaper’s ongoing Name and Shame initiative in co-operation with the provincial transport department’s Safely Home campaign. - Cape Argus

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