Pretoria-Transport Minister, Sibusiso Ndebele, has warned that there would be no mercy to motorists who will be caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Last month alone, a total of 1 320 drunk drivers were arrested throughout the country. From 1 October 2010 to 31 May 2011, 15 197 drunk drivers were arrested.
“Drunk driving is a major contributory factor to road crashes and road deaths in South Africa and we want to warn road users that there is no getting away.
“Drunk driving must be eliminated. Absolutely no mercy will be shown to drunk drivers as well as drunk pedestrians,” he said.
Ndebele said traffic officers targeting drunk drivers will continue on various routes and at various times until every driver knows that drinking and driving is just not worth the risk.
“We will continue to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers, until the courts pronounce on the admissibility of breath alcohol evidence.
“Alcohol enforcement operations have gathered momentum, and as of May 2011 no less than 10 000 drivers are being screened every month for drinking and driving,” he said.
The minister, said his department is also currently in discussions regarding proposals calling for a total ban on consuming alcohol while driving, and or lowering the current legal alcohol limit.
According to the National Road Traffic Act, in addition to a fine and or imprisonment, persons found guilty of drinking and driving may have their driving licences suspended and/or cancelled in the case of a first offence, for a period of at least six months; a second offence, at least five years; or a third or subsequent offence, at least ten years.
South Africa joined the rest of the world and officially launched the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 last month.
As part of government’s new National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP), from 1 October 2010 to 31 May 2011 almost 10 million (9,926,693) vehicles and drivers have been checked, 4,115,292 fines issued for various traffic offences, 15,197 drunk drivers arrested and 39,706 un-roadworthy vehicles discontinued from use.
“We call upon more South Africans to take responsibility for their safety on the roads during this Decade of Action.
South Africa fully supports the Make Roads Safe campaign as well as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, to reduce the appalling projected global increase in road deaths,” he said. -BuaNews