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Important Facts Relating to Alcohol, Roads and the Law in South Africa

  • The Legal Limit in South Africa for public road users is 0.05 % B.A.C (0.24mg/l brAC) (approx 2 units of alcohol within 1 hour for a person of average weight and height)
  • The Legal Limit in South Africa for professional drivers i.e. people who drive for a living eg. Bus Drivers, Courier and Truck Drivers, is 0.02 % B.A.C (0.10mg/l brAC) (approx 1 unit of alcohol within 1 hour for a person of average weight and height)
  • It takes the human body 1 hour to process and eliminate 1 unit of alcohol. If you drink 2 units of alcohol, you need 2 hour to eliminate the 2 units of alcohol. If you drink 4 units of alcohol you need 4 hours to process and eliminate the 4 units of alcohol. etc.
  • If found to be over the Legal Limit when AARTO is in force one's licence will be suspended.
  • AARTO is short for Administration and Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act

Laws relevant to alcohol and substance abuse in South Africa

  • The Adjudication and Administration of Road Traffic Offences Act
  • National Road Traffic Act No. 93 of 1996
  • Mine Health and Safety Act 1996, No 29 of 1996
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993 – (OHSA) section 8 and 14 OHSA General Safety regulations 2A
  • Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995
  • Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997
  • Compensation for Occupational Diseases and Injuries Act No. 130 of 1993
  • Merchants Shipping Act no. 57 of 1951

Links to Road Safety Partners:

What is alcohol abuse?

  • Alcohol abuse can be referred to as the over indulgence or excessive usage and dependence on alcohol that acts on the central nervous system to alter brain functions. This typically results in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behaviour leading to effects that are harmful to a person’s physical or mental health or the welfare of others.

Effects of alcohol abuse on the body:

  • Physical Effects – poor vision, poor co-ordination, poor reaction speed
  • Mental Effects – poor concentration, lack of morale, low self-esteem

Effects of alcohol abuse on companies:

  • Increased health and safety risks – more accidents occur
  • Decreased productivity – staff are not as productive at work
  • Increased absenteeism – staff often miss more days from work
  • Increased health costs
  • Labour turnover increases
  • Increased legal liability
  • Conflict in the workplace

Did you know?

  • A beverage containing 2 units of alcohol or more consumed within 20 to 30 minutes will place the average man on or over the legal limit for normal drivers within 1 hour.
  • A beverage containing 1 unit of alcohol or more consumed within 20 to 30 minutes will place the average man on or over the legal limit for Professional Drivers within 1 hour.

What constitutes "One Unit of alcohol"?

  • One Unit = 2/3 of a can of beer; 75 ml 14% red wine; 90 mls 12% white wine ; 25 ml (1 tot) spirits.
  • One unit comes to 0.02g (0.02% BAC) in the blood, or 0.10 mg in the breath.
 
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