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Road Traffic Amendment Bill Under the Spotlight

August 27, 2020

Department of Transport

The transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, has reiterated the call to strengthen the law on the alcohol level for motorists.

The minister made the pronouncements during a media briefing on Alert Level 2 Transport Directions.

The Road Traffic Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament at the end of May 2020.

The bill aims to achieve proper implementation of the strategic interventions highlighted in the Road Safety Strategy and address practical challenges.

Cabinet approved the bill for tabling in March 2020.

According to the cabinet statement, the proposed legislation proposes, amongst others, regulations for the driving-school industry and proposes appropriate standards under which learner drivers must be taught.
It also deals with fraud and corruption within the road traffic environment, increases penalties for those who fail to comply with traffic rules, prohibits alcohol consumption by drivers and proposes the national number plate legislation.

The bill also proposes the streamlining of the powers of the transport minister and those of the provincial members of the executive committee responsible for transport.

It seeks to further prohibit and reduce the limit of alcohol in a specimen of blood taken from any part of the body by deleting reference to any alcohol content in the blood or breath specimen of motor vehicle drivers on the road in South Africa.

The minister highlighted that the bill aims to introduce 0% alcohol level for all motorists.

“Research conducted by the RTMC 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.”

In terms of Alert Level 2 Transport Directions, the minister pointed out that inter-provincial travel is now permitted subject to restrictions on public transport vehicles; vehicles on short distance public transport can carry 100% of their maximum license passenger capacity; rail operations can carry a maximum of 70% of their licensed passenger capacity; four more domestic airports (Mthatha Airport, Hoedspruit Airport, Phalaborwa Airport and Margate Airport) able to resume domestic operations; international air travel remains prohibited and foreign ship crew changes permitted at the ports of Cape Town and Durban.