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How to respond to a drunk driving accident

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do on the roads, and it’s sadly a common occurrence in South Africa.

It’s a form of vehicle-related crime that tends to spike over the December holiday period as people are travelling more while often overindulging in alcohol or other influential substances at festivities.

Being in a drunk driving accident is a harrowing experience for all parties involved, and it can be easy to panic after going through such an ordeal, but it is important to stay focused and perform certain actions as quickly as possible to save lives and assist law enforcement and medical services.

What you need to do

The first and most important thing to do in any vehicle accident you are involved in is to stop the car, as this is required by theĀ Road Traffic Act of 1996. Failing to do so and driving away from the scene of the incident is considered an offence that can lead to fines or jail time.

According to Naked Insurance, the next step after all the involved vehicles have come to a stop is to check for injured persons while calling emergency services using either 10177 or 112 on your phone.

Parties who can do so are legally bound to assist people injured in a crash, however, it is understood that the average person has limited medical knowledge, so at most you are expected to assist in moving people out of harm’s way before the authorities arrive.

It is at this point that if you suspect one or more of the other parties in the accident may have been intoxicated, you should also call the police on 10111.

Finally, you should contact your insurance provider to alert them of the incident, which will start the process of being able to claim damages down the line once a case file number is received from the police.

Know your limits

Driving while under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offence in South Africa and is punishable by a fine of R2,000 or more, the suspension of your driving licence, and a six-year prison term with a 10-year criminal record.

It’s therefore incredibly important to ensure that you do not overdo things on a night out, as this not only puts you and your passengers at risk, but also the lives of pedestrians and other motorists.

In South Africa, the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving is not more than 0.05g of alcohol per 100ml of blood, and it may not surpass 0.24mg of alcohol per 1,000ml of breath if recorded by a breathalyzer.

While this will vary depending on a person’s size and weight, most people will reach this limit by consuming either 350ml of beer or a single tot of stronger liquor or spirits such as brandy, said the SAPS.

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