One of the problems currently plaguing Australian roads is the number of drink driving crashes that occur each week, but the issue is not unique to Oz, it seems countries around the world are grappling with the same issue.
There is no absolute safe level of alcohol consumption for competent driving. However, Australia has strict laws about drinking alcohol and driving, with the legal limit set at 0.05 BAC.
The law stipulates that Australian drivers must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.05 and Australian police are authorized to stop any vehicle and breath test the driver for their BAC at any time.
According to Australian officials, alcohol is the biggest cause of road crashes in the country, even more so than speed. This makes sense when you consider that alcohol slows down driver’s reaction times, dulls thinking processes and causes other effects like blurred vision and impaired hearing.
One of the issues relating to drink driving is that sometimes people don’t understand how much alcohol is allowed by the law and how to calculate how much alcohol it would take to get their blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
One of the solutions to this problem that has been identified by the South African government is banning alcohol consumption for drivers completely. This would mean that not even one drink or a sip of a drink would be allowed before getting behind the wheel.
This “zero tolerance” approach to alcohol on the roads is likely to be implemented across South Africa soon, rather than the current allowance of up to 0.05ml of alcohol (similarly to Oz). The country is plagued by alcohol induced road crashes and this is one of the ways government aims to tackle the high fatality rate on South African roads.
This post from the Independent Online website www.iol.co.za explains:
The government plans to implement a total ban on alcohol consumption by drivers, it was reported on Friday.
An inter-ministerial committee on alcohol and substance abuse, led by social develop minister Bathabile Dlamini, had decided to approach the Cabinet to present a case for zero tolerance of alcohol on the roads, The Sowetan reported.
At the moment, motorists may have up to 0.05ml of alcohol in their blood.
Transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso told the newspaper drivers were continuing to disregard the alcohol limit.
“Medical research has shown that a drop of alcohol (in the blood) leads to (drivers) not being able to control their vehicles.
Most of the accidents are caused by drunk people on our roads.”
Apparently a similar approach has been adopted in Brazil. Drivers in Brazil are banned from drinking at all which has resulted in a significant, 30 per cent drop in road fatalities and injuries in that country.
The article also explained that the government of South Africa supports the banning of alcohol advertisements because it believes it causes people to drink more and attracts new drinkers by making alcohol appear glamorous. A similar debate is currently going on in Oz, where many groups are advocating for the banning alcohol advertisements and sponsorships in sports.