Most of us would rate ourselves as excellent drivers.
In fact, a recent AA survey found that 85% of South African drivers rated their performance behind the wheel as excellent or better – beyond reproach – and when something terrible happens on our roads, it’s almost always somebody else’s fault.
It begs the question: if we’re all such great drivers, then why are our roads so incredibly deadly?
During the first two weeks of the 2018 festive season, 787 people died on our roads and over 2 800 were arrested for driving under the influence, speeding, and a variety of other heinous offences. The problem has spiralled so far out of control that the RTMC has even tabled a proposal to reclassify drunken driving as a Schedule 5 offence – putting it on par with atrocities such as rape and murder – in an effort to encourage better road behaviour.
Cases of speeding, negligence and drunken driving increase at a frightening level over holiday periods such as Christmas and Easter, with every province but Gauteng seeing year after year of rising death tolls.
In further effort to stave off the mayhem and bloodshed, we’ve seen drunken drivers fast-tracked through prosecution and brought to court much faster than before, and, of course, we’ve got the incoming demerit system.
That’s not all. Earlier this month, the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, launched the 2019 Easter Road Safety Campaign, during which he demonstrated our new Evidential Breathalyser Alcohol Test (EBAT) system, soon to be implemented on our roads.
Let’s take a look at what this means for those caught driving under the influence.
We spoke about the EBAT system a little bit in a previous article - Everything You Need to Know about the New Breathalysers. Here is everything you need to know about the new system, and why it is being used, in easy bullet points:
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, plans have been put into place to classify drunken driving as a much more serious offence. In the event of killing somebody, drunken drivers will be charged criminally – not just civilly – and this could see those found guilty facing jail sentences of no less than 15 years.
Here are some of the other initiatives in the pipeline: