There’s a lot of talk about where we can expect roadblocks to pop up over the festive season. Spontaneous get-togethers during the festive season, however, begs another question to be answered. What exactly is the limit on drinking and driving in South Africa?
Automobile Association (AA)
While the Automobile Association (AA) states that the rule for drinking and driving is simply not to do it, reality is it doesn’t always happen this way. It is, therefore, best to know that if you’ve been pulled into having a drink with a friend or colleague and you need to drive home, what will not only keep you from being arrested over the festive season, but what is the responsible thing to do to avoid endangering lives on the road? The AA has reported that more than 21 000 people have been arrested on our roads in the last year for driving while under the influence and that 50% of people who die in accidents in South Africa are over the legal limit.
What is the legal alcohol limit?
The legal alcohol limit is set by the National Government’s Department of Transport and is enforced by the various legal entities in each province falling under the Provincial Department of Transport. The legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. A good rule of thumb is a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour, which constitutes 10ml of pure alcohol, based on an adult weighing 68kg. Our bodies can only process one unit of alcohol each hour. However, it is important to be aware that if you weigh less than 68kg, your body will need more time to process the same amount of alcohol.
What does this mean practically though?
The legal limit is equivalent to two-thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol. Red and white wine can be drunk at 75ml per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14%. Whisky and Brandy is acceptable at one 25ml tot of alcohol per hour.
Solutions to avoid driving under the influence
So, what do you do if you have drunk more than the legal limit? Some would say a cup of coffee, a cold shower, a glass of water or a coke and a chocolate will be enough to get you sobered up. These quick fixes are only a myth, unfortunately. Your liver needs time to process the alcohol, and the only way to stay within the legal limit is to consume one unit per hour or less.
A better solution is to make use of taxi and driving services like UBER or Good Fellas. Uber is an app that connects drive-partners and riders. It’s a kind of car for hire service with a driver included.
Another option that’s slightly different is Good Fellas. They offer the service of driving you home in your car to ensure a safe and reliable solution for all South Africans.
Download the UBER app and keep Good Fellas number on speed dial so that you are never tempted to drive when you are over the limit.
Here are their details for ease of use:
086 143 3552
Uber download the app for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab&hl=en
Uber download the app for Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/za/app/uber/id368677368?mt=8
You can search for the UBER App on either of these platforms on your mobile phone and it is easy to find and download.
Driving under the influence and being involved in an accident could result in many unnecessary consequences even if it’s not your fault. These include but are not limited to being turned away by your insurance company, gaining a criminal record, possibly facing the families of other injured or deceased individuals and not being able to be compensated for the accident by the Road Accident Fund.
The only way to decrease the death toll on our South African roads, especially over the festive season is if every user on the roads takes responsibility for their actions and heads their own and other lives. Let’s make a difference together.