Drink or drive — but not both

2011-05-07 00:00

MOTORISTS are warned that in future they should choose to either drink or to drive, but they will not be able to do both.

A senior official in the Department of Transport is planning to ban drivers completely from drinking alcohol in an attempt to deal with reckless driving and road carnage.

This proposed law is the brainchild of John Motsatsing, the department’s chief director of road transport regulations.

Motsatsing told The Witness yesterday, “It will definitely have to be implemented because we cannot have people drinking and the ndriving afterwards.

“The best way is to completely ban alcohol for drivers, because drivers cannot know when they have exceeded the limit.

“Why do you drink if you know that you are going drive?”

This “tough” law has a long way to go before it gets implemented, he conceded.

“It will have to go through public participation in order to get views on it because we need support. It will then go through Parliament for endorsement.

“I cannot give a time frame when it will really be implemented.”

The content of alcohol in a motorist’s blood system should not exceed 0,05%.

Caro Smit, director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), said she “fully supports” the idea. She goes even further, saying that motorists should be tested up to three times a day to make sure that they do not take chances.

“In Brazil the alcohol limit for drivers is zero percent and [road] deaths are 30% down. The alcohol testing system in South Africa is not perfect …” she said.

Smit also challenged the Justice Department to take cases of drunk driving seriously.

“The National Road Traffic Act must be implemented and drivers must have their driver’s licences suspended.

“Cases of drunk driving must be prosecuted within a week in order to avoid a situation such as that of Koobeshan Naicker who allegedly killed three people on March 26 and has other drink driving-related cases,” said Smit.

On April 10 a Durban-based weekly newspaper quoted police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge as saying, “Naicker allegedly committed other crimes recently, involving alcohol, malicious damage to property, reckless and negligent driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.”

SADD will hold a march against drunk driving at Riverside Hotel at 12.15 pm on May 10.

It will be in remembrance of Gillian Bell (33) her son Connor (9) and dance teacher Carmen Hunter (19) who were killed in an accident on Athlone Bridge in Durban on March 26.

The accident led to the arrest of Naicker, a Durban attorney, who was also charged with three counts of culpable homicide.

Police alleged that Naicker had been drinking in a Durban hotel before he got into his vehicle.

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