Justice Project: Long road still ahead for 0% alcohol driving law

Justice Project: Long road still ahead for 0% alcohol driving law

The non-governmental organisation, Justice Project South Africa, says the proposed bill on the 0% alcohol limit for drivers is unlikely to be amended by the end of 2020.

drinking and driving pexels

On Tuesday, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill has been sent to Parliament and if approved in time, could still come into effect by December.

It will prohibit motorists from consuming any alcohol before they slip behind the steering wheel on South African roads.

The 0% alcohol limit will then replace the current alcohol limit of 0.05 %.

Justice Project Chairperson, Howard Dembovsky, says they don't support the proposed 0% alcohol level for drivers.

"We support anything that enhances road safety, but this is not going to have any effect on road safety," says Dembovsky.

He adds that the concept of completely removing the alcohol limit is flawed.

"We are going to have people who are not under the influence of alcohol but whose bodies manufacture alcohol naturally who are going to get a criminal record because their metabolism is not the same as that of the next person," says Dembovsky.

READ: Level 2: Mbalula announces changes to transport regulations

Dembovsky says education and enforcement is one of the keys when it comes to successful road safety campaigns.

"Alcohol doesn't affect everyone the same way, but it does affect motor skills and decision making. Education is important and regulating places that sell alcohol and enforcement is equally important. 

"We have liquor legislation for a provider not to sell alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person, but that is not enforced," says Dembovsky.

He doubts whether the new bill will be passed before December.

"The bill still has a long way to go before being adopted by Parliament. It has to be seen by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport which may or may not open it to the public for comments.

"It sounds a little bit ambitious for the minister to say it will be enforced by December," says Dembovsky.

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