KZN drunk fined R45 000

2008-07-11 00:00

South Africans Against Drunk Driving (Sadd) have welcomed the R45 000 fine given to a Scottburgh man for driving while under the influence of alcohol, although they said it was “quite lenient” given the man’s blood alcohol level — equivalent to him having 10 brandies in his system.

The 21-year-old man was sentenced at the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Transport Department spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu told Weekend Witness that Kyle Hudson was caught driving his Golf on the N2 at Scottburgh on March 22 with a breath alcohol level of 1,04 mg per 1 000 ml. The legal limit for breath alcohol is 0,24 mg per 1 000 ml.

Caro Smit, the founder of Sadd, said at that level a person is 80 times more likely to have a crash.

“He would have suffered severe sensory and motor impairment, including double vision, and impairment of balance and movement, and problems with decision making. At this level, that’s when people kill.”

Smit said offenders should have their licences removed and should be sent for alcohol treatment to learn not to drink and drive again.

“This is a serious crime and is as bad as murder.”

She said Sadd is thrilled the magistrate saw it as a serious crime. “We hope that other sentences will impose even higher fines.”

Smit is the mother of Chaz Smit, singer for the band Plush, who was killed in a drink and drive incident on September 18, 2005, an event that inspired her to start the organisation in January 2006.

Mngomezulu said Hudson “deserved the punishment” as many warnings about the consequences of drinking and driving have been given. “All those who don’t want to listen will suffer. We want the public to learn from others’ mistakes and avoid drinking and driving.”

She added that the fine is especially stiff, as “everything is so expensive right now”.

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