Here's how a new law to make sure motorists are '100% sober' could affect you

Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula.
Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Twitter/Department of transport

A new law that will require motorists to be “100% sober” will be signed and introduced later this year.

This is according to transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who released the 2020 festive season road statistics at the weekend.

Once the law is in place, the government will have a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol consumption by drivers.

Here is what you need to know:

You will no longer be allowed to have 0.5% of alcohol in your system

Mbalula said the law would be introduced in June.

He said the government was “tightening the screw” this year to see that all lawbreakers and offenders are dealt with.

“We are going to sign into law this year 0% alcohol. It’s no longer 0.5%, it's going to be 0.0%, meaning when you drive your car, you must be sober 100%.

You could lose your licence if you are a serial offender

The minister said that a demaerit system will be implemnted this hyear that could bring harsh punishment for those who have repeatedly broken the law.

“Aarto (the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences Act) is also going to improve this year. We are going to implement the demerit system [so that] when you commit a number of offences you risk losing your driver's licence.”

There will be changes to getting your licence

Mbalula said that new drivers' licences will be issued this year.

He said there were many “fake drivers” who shouldn't be on the road.

“The driver's licence is going to be upgraded this year. What you have now in form of plastic is going to change sometime in June. We will introduce new security features and we are going to make it something easy to get.

“The training of motorists, in terms of the syllabus on how to conduct yourself before you get your licence, is going to be important. There are a lot of fake motorists on our roads, and people who are not supposed to be driving.”

Officers who stop you may be wearing body cameras

He said the government was going to eradicate corruption in the driving and learning centres as well as eradicate the corruption by traffic officials on the road.

“Traffic officers need to be polished too, by providing them proper IT systems and body cameras,” said Mbalula.

“You can't trust a human being. It depends on your conscience that you will not do corruption and will not take bribes. We must ensure that every officer on the road has a body camera that accounts for what he or she does. It will be a punishable offence for officers to remove their body cameras.”

No 'skop and donner' approach

Mbalula said the government's approach to seeing that regulations are adhered to is not “skop and donner”. 

He said the government expects citizens to voluntarily abide by the regulations and directives put in place.

“We don't want citizens to abide by them because there's a cop at the corner who will make you observe the regulations,” he said. “Consciously we are law-abiding and we introduce regulations to save lives.”

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