A proposed Draft in the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill has been passed and the bill was documented in the gazette last week for public comment.

The proposed new section of law states: “Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs having a narcotic effect (is) prohibited”.

The proposal is that “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 or her body”.

Current law allows drivers to have up to 0.05g of alcohol per 100ml of blood, or 0.02g/100ml for professional drivers.

The proposal was cautiously welcomed by drunk-driving watchdogs.

South Africans Against Drunk Driving said a zero alcohol level was easier for drivers to understand and thus appropriate for South Africa, but warned that this in itself wasn’t enough.

“Merely changing the level to zero will not mean people will stop drink driving,” said Caro Smit, founder and director of SADD.

“A zero level must be followed through with rigorous enforcement, that is, frequent random testing, good paperwork that stands up in court, and swift court appearances.”

She said that only when there were high conviction rates and effective punishments would drunk driving decrease, pointing out that the legal blood-alcohol level was reduced more than 15 years ago, but road deaths and injuries had increased.

Let us know your thoughts on this passed bill.