About losing a driver’s Licence due to “Probable” drunk driving

    July 22, 2016

    South Africa features at the top of the list of many different categories, but when it comes to drunk driving, the country ranks at the top.

    South Africans drink the most alcohol than anywhere else in the world.

    Most drivers know that if they are involved in a car accident after consuming alcohol, their insurer isn’t going to cover their claim.

    Drunk driving is Almost a South African national sport

    Drunk driving

    It is easier to reject a claim based on probable alcohol consumption than being arrested for it.

    In fact, a spokesperson from the short-term insurance ombudsman has said that there has been a significant increase in the rejection of claims for motor collisions involving the consumption of alcohol.

    There is a difference between criminal, and local standards and insurers just have to prove local standards to reject a claim.

    It’s no use Lying to Cover your Mistakes

    Don’t try and put misleading information into your claim to wriggle out of a situation because if you are discovered doing this, the application will certainly be rejected. Insurers today probe deeply to get all the information they need – they stop at nothing.

    The accuracy of the Drager Alcoltest under Scrutiny

    The reliability of the Drager Alcoltest has also come under question, accusing it of providing unreliable evidence in court.

    Many people have been arrested and charged with contravening section 65(5) of the National Road Traffic Act, which in layman’s terms is drunk driving. This Act prohibits people from driving or even occupying the driver’s seat of a car who’s engine is running on a public road.

    The Drager Alcoltest breathalyser may well operate in the right way if correctly calibrated, but what if it falls into the wrong hands?

    The Drager instruction manual, as well as the manufacturer’s guidelines, require that a Drager breathalyser machine has its calibration set every six months, however, the courts have found the devices inadequately maintained and, that software hasn’t tested the way its legislation dictates. People operating the breathalyser test are found to be inadequately trained.

    Ethanol is the Gas used for Drunk driving Breathalyser tests

    To accept the results of the Drager Alcoltest breathalyser it must prove that the results exclude other substances which have the same characteristics of ethanol. It has found that tobacco smoke, dentures and alcohol vapours can affect the results of the Drager Alcoltest breathalyser.

    The reality in South Africa is that these tests aren’t proving to be successful because it takes nearly a year for blood alcohol samples to be returned which means cases are not accepted because the methods used were questionable in a court of law.

    The Insurers WON’T allow you off the Hook

    The insurance companies are unrelenting to get to the bottom of drunk driving cases, faulty equipment or not. Restaurants these days all have CCTV cameras in them, and the insurers won’t stop at getting footage to see how intoxicated you were. CCTV footage is enough evidence for them to reject a claim.

    Do South Africans even know about the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol? Do they know when they have gone beyond the limit for driving and what the charges are if found with their blood alcohol limit being beyond what it should be?

    Drunk driving, what’s Legal?

    The South African Road Traffic Act 93/96 has been put in place to protect the community from drunk drivers. The legal blood alcohol limit in South Africa is less than 0.05 g per 100 ml. Two drinks in an hour can put you over the limit.

    The body takes an hour to process 1 unit of alcohol. If you are caught and suspected of being over the legally allowed amount of alcohol, a specimen of your breath can be taken. If you fail this test, you will be detained for further evaluation.

    Getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol means time in court too. If you’re found guilty, you can be looking at up to 6 years in jail and also be liable for substantial fines of more than R100 000.

    Also, bail for drunk driving can vary and depends on the police station, but it is usually round about R500.  A suspended licence and a criminal record against you can impact on your chances of getting a job in the future.

    The stark Reality of drunk driving

    Drunk driving is a significant contribution to the massive accident and death rate on South Africa’s roads; research has indicated that 50% of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 gramme per 100 millilitres.

    South Africans can be grateful for the likes of Uber. Even companies, after a group event, organise drive-me-home services, making sure that everyone gets home safely without driving themselves home.

    They want to ensure there are no restrictions on drinking at their work parties, but that there’s an arrangement in place that anyone who has had too much doesn’t drive. South Africa also has a driver demerit system which penalises drivers breaking the law. If they break the law too often, they have their driver’s licence suspended.

    A drive to Warn foolish Intoxicated Drivers

    Hollard is one of South Africa’s largest privately owned insurance groups, and they make no bones about the fact that drinking and driving are going to impact your insurance claim. They say that there are many South Africans who are ignorant about the laws surrounding drinking and driving and the massive financial loss.

    How your car insurance could be affected if you are involved in an accident while under the influence –

    You stand the chance of never being insured again as the insurer sees you as a high-risk individual. If your driver’s license gets suspended, you will never be able to get car insurance anywhere.

    Your claim may never be paid out – the Road Accident Fund may also refuse to pay out claims if you have a drunken driving accident.

    A rise in premiums – this is if your insurance company does decide to pay out your claim. You’re now considered a high-risk driver and your premiums will increase

    Insurance companies could exclude liability if your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit

    A few Hours of pleasure for what?

    Hollard, as well as other insurance companies and Arrive Alive, have invested millions in advertising and information to coax the public not to drink and drive.

    Be responsible, because it’s only when caught, and you experience the wrath of your insurance company and what you’ve lost, that you’ll realise the folly of your ways.

    A few hours of pleasure and a lifetime of hardships.

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    All info was correct at time of publishing