Proposed amendments have been made to the National Road Traffic Act to reduce the legal blood alcohol limits for drivers to zero. The NRSP commends the move to tackle the high number of drunk driving-related crashes but is concerned that this approach on its own will not address the source of the problem.
The NRSP says that real change is only possible with a comprehensive approach to the challenge that drunk driving presents. “As a limit on one’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) already exists and often many serious drunk driving crashes involve drivers with a BAC over this limit, a more strategic and targeted approach should be considered by the government.
“A lower BAC limit alone will not work without more awareness campaigns, stricter enforcement of the legislation and penalties alone that should frighten drivers off getting behind the wheel after drinking. A comprehensive approach that educates drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving, ensures this is properly enforced and punished in a way in which real change can be brought about.”
What is clear is that more effort needs to be put into stopping drinking and driving. “Certain drivers in South Africa have shown that they have little regard for current legislation because not enough has been done to raise awareness and strengthen enforcement and penalties. Most drivers are not concerned about what the BAC limit is if they believe they can buy their way out of the situation when pulled over by police.
“With a comprehensive approach to the issue of drinking and driving, South Africa is likely to see a higher impact than what has been achieved for some time. Only changing the BAC limit is unlikely to see the results that country so desperately needs. If all are committed to ending the needless loss of life and unnecessary expense that this dangerous habit results in, there is a way to bring about real change,” says the NRSP.