The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is pushing for tougher legal action against drunk drivers ahead of the festive season. The RTMC wants driving under the influence of alcohol to be reclassified from a Schedule 2 to Schedule 5 offence. The RTMC wants drunk drivers to spend at least seven-days in jail before they can be considered for bail. If arrested, offenders face a minimum fine of R2000 or a two-year prison sentence, or both. Is the proposal a good one or drastic?

Vivian Pillay
I do not support the seven-days imprisonment without an option of bail. The government failed its constitutional mandate to promote safety and security to its citizens. The crime rate in the country is in a crisis, the law enforcement agencies and the judicial system has also failed us. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a world-wide problem and the seven-days will never act as a deterrent.
It has other consequences, it gives corrupt law enforcement officers more power to illicit bribes. The seven-days detention will also have a negative impact on the offenders family and job security. All offenders must be charged and released on bail if found guilty in the court of law. They must face the consequences of the seriousness of the offence. Over 70% of accidents are caused by negligent and reckless driving.

Jannet Kumkurren
I am in agreement with stricter laws being implemented on drunk drivers. The legal breath alcohol level in South Africa is less than 0.24mg in 1000ml of breath, which means that two drinks in the space of an hour will put you over the limit. If you consciously decide to indulge in alcohol and then drive under the influence, then one should accept the full wrath of the law, as you are selfishly disregarding the law of the country and endangering not only yourself but the lives of other innocent motorists on the road, which is unacceptable. These motorists should have their license revoked. If you are adult enough to consume alcohol then one is mature enough to understand the consequence and the aftermath of their actions.
Drink responsibly, make adequate and alternate arrangements for transport should you be under the influence to be fetched and dropped. Do not endanger the lives of innocent motorists and ruin your life in the interim. How would you feel if your loved one lost their life due to a drunken driver?

Nokwazi Zondo
I’m totally against the seven-day punishment. Men who have assaulted women are not arrested but merely given a warning unless she is hospitalised. The problem with this is that breathalysers are not 100% accurate, so if one is arrested for seven-days and their blood work comes back negative, what will happen then? Seven days in jail is crazy, I believe that one should be given the option of bail until the law can prove that the person is guilty.

Mannie Pillay
I personally think that the proposal is too lenient. The RTMC should impose the highest form of punishment to offenders.
I definitely support the idea of offenders spending seven-days in jail if found guilty of driving under the influence. Driving under the influence has become such a norm in society that perpetrators will not hesitate to commit the same offence repeatedly even after being in jail and paying the fine. The government must get to the root of the problem as thousands of lives have been lost due to this deadly poison.