Zero-tolerance drink-driving and road safety in South Africa: What are the options?

Authors

  • Anesh Sukhai 1.Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; 2.Masculinity and Health Research Unit, University of South Africa and South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9739-782X
  • Ashley van Niekerk 1.Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; 2.Masculinity and Health Research Unit, University of South Africa and South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2900-8519
  • Mohamed Seedat 1.Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; 2.Masculinity and Health Research Unit, University of South Africa and South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9018-3370

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2022/11480

Keywords:

zero-tolerance, drink-driving, road safety, alcohol, South Africa

Abstract

Alcohol is a major contributing factor to the burden of road traffic crashes and injuries in South Africa. There has been an increase in political interest and engagement on the issue of drink-driving in recent months following government restrictions on the sale and public consumption of alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdowns along with proposed zero-tolerance drink-driving legislation. In this paper, we critically examine global research and experiences with the adoption of zero-tolerance approaches to drink-driving along with key South African contextual considerations to provide evidence-based and contextually relevant recommendations for advancing zero-tolerance drink-driving legislation in the country. There is significant evidence to support the adoption of zero-tolerance legislation but at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold limit for the general driving population set at 0.02 g/100 mL (rather than the zero-BAC limit proposed through the Road Traffic Amendment Bill) to allow for variance in testing. Recommendations centre on the proposed legislation incorporating a gradualist approach and its location within a broader zero-tolerance approach that includes other complementary interventions to enable implementation.

Significance:

  • The recommended blood alcohol level of 0.02 g/100 mL is lower than the best practice limit recommended by the World Health Organization of 0.05 g/100 mL, following consideration of the road safety and general alcohol consumption challenges in South Africa and evidence of success from other similar country contexts.
  • Broad principles and recommendations are presented to support the sustainable adoption of zerotolerance drink-driving legislation in the country.

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Published

2022-09-29

How to Cite

Sukhai, A., van Niekerk, A. ., & Seedat, M. (2022). Zero-tolerance drink-driving and road safety in South Africa: What are the options?. South African Journal of Science, 118(9/10). https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2022/11480

Issue

Section

Review Article