With the zero-tolerance approach the law has towards road users, it’s necessary to address the consequences of drinking and driving. Unfortunately, holidays and weekends often bring devastating road accidents, with families being injured and losing members due to drunk-driving related incidents.
What does the law say?
- According to the Road Traffic Act 93/96, which has been in effect since March 1998, no person shall on a public road:
- Drive a vehicle; or
- Occupy a driver’s seat of a motor vehicle, the engine of which is running, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect.
- No person shall on a public road:
- Drive a vehicle; or
- Occupy a driver’s seat of a motor vehicle, the engine of which is running, while the concentration of alcohol in any specimen of blood taken part of his or her body is not less than 0,05 grams per 100 millilitres.
- If, in any prosecution for a contravention of the provisions of subsection (2), it is proved that the concentration of alcohol in any specimen of blood taken from any part of the body of the person concerned was not less than 0,05 grams per 100 millilitres at any time within two hours after the alleged offence, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that such concentration was not less than 0,05 grams per 100 millilitres of blood at the time of the alleged offence.
What happens if you are caught?
- You will be arrested for being over the limit: If you are suspected of driving over the limit, you will be Breathalysed.
- Your blood will be taken: If the Breathalyser tests positive, you will be taken into custody and sent for further testing at an alcohol testing centre.
- You will be detained: Once you have been arrested you will be taken to a police station, where you will be detained in the holding cells for at least four hours to sober up.
After your release, a docket will be opened and you will be allocated an investigating officer who will follow up your blood test results.
Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol should not be an option. People should always use an alternative option, such as getting a lift with someone else, Uber, or using a taxi. Besides the fact that drinking and driving could cost you or someone else their life, it also has severe legal consequences.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)