The rule that a driver must have absolutely zero alcohol in their system when driving is coming into effect in June 2021.
This is according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, and was reported on by BusinessTech.
The new rule will coincide with South Africa introducing a “demerit” system for drivers.
Mbalula said the National Road Traffic Amendment Act will “introduce the total prohibition of the use and consumption of alcohol by all motor vehicle operators on South African public roads”, stated the report.
Currently, the legal limit for drivers is a blood alcohol concentration of under 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres.
For professional drivers this limit is lower, at 0.02 grams per 100 millilitres.
The new rule will see this limit fall to 0.00 grams per 100 millilitres.
The Automobile Association (AA) has stated that the proposed changes will “criminalise innocent motorists and is unlikely to have the results authorities think it will”.
“These proposed changes are concerning on a number of levels and although the stated reason for the change is the promotion of road safety, within the current framework of traffic law enforcement, nothing will change, except that innocent drivers are likely to be criminalised,” said the AA.
An example of a scenario in which this could happen is someone who has taken medication which contains alcohol, and then drives a car.
These drivers will now be arrested, charged and potentially prosecuted for “having a small dose of alcohol in their blood while their driving ability has not been impaired”.
Mbalula said he is aware that the system has opposition, but said the bill has been signed into law by president Cyril Ramaphosa.