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Wednesday / 28 July 2021
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New government proposals for South African drivers

Driving Car

South Africa’s parliamentary portfolio committee on transport has opened public comments on the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill – which aims to introduce several changes to the country’s traffic laws.

According to a report by BusinessTech, the proposals include more regulations around driving schools, licences, and number plates.

Additionally, a total prohibition on the consumption of alcohol by drivers operating a vehicle has been put forward.

This will mean that drivers may not have any alcohol in their blood or “breath specimen” when on the roads.

“The National Road Traffic Act currently enables those who have consumed alcohol to get behind the wheel provided they are under the blood alcohol limit,” stated the report.

For standard drivers, their blood-alcohol level must be less than 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres. In the case of a professional driver, less than 0.02 grams per 100 millilitres.

“Research conducted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council and the University of South Africa shows that driver alcohol intoxication accounts for 27.1% of fatal crashes in the country. This is estimated to cost the economy R18.2 billion annually,” said Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Number plate changes

The government is also planning to introduce changes to South Africa’s number plates under the new bill.

The changes will include the embedding of microdots into new number plates, which can then be scanned when cars drive along highways and cross South Africa’s borders.

Licences

A new provisional driver’s licence has been suggested for local citizens, too, added the report.

In a presentation to parliament earlier in October, the Department of Transport said the current regulations will be amended to include three types of driving licences in the country:

  • A learner’s licence
  • A provisional driving licence
  • A driving licence

The new tiers may see a driver licence system designed to provide new drivers of motor vehicles with driving experience in low-risk environments.

“There are typically three steps or stages through which new drivers pass. They begin by acquiring a learner’s permit, progress to a provisional licence, followed by receipt of a full driver’s licence,” stated the report.

This could result in new drivers being restricted from driving on freeways, driving at night, or driving without supervision – with these restrictions then lifted once the individual obtains their full driver’s licence.

Driving centres

Additionally, the bill aims to introduce a number of proposed changes to driving centres in South Africa.

This includes the suspension – and cancellation of the registration – of an examiner for driving licences if they are convicted of an offence or if they have a direct or indirect conflict of interest.

The registration and grading of training centres has also been suggested, along with providing for the registration and grading of driving school instructors as well as driving schools.

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