Take note of the Ombudsman’s Warning on Drunk driving

There has been a significant increase in the rejection of claims for vehicle accidents involving drinking and driving. For this reason, one needs to heed the Ombudsman warning on drunk driving.

The World Health Organization claims that between 20,000 and 25,000 people die every year as a result of driving under the influence of liquor.

In South Africa, 50% of individuals who die on the roads are above the 0.05 gramme per 100-millilitre level. Not only that but the majority of drivers are uninsured.

Ombudsman warning on Alcohol-related vehicle Accidents

Ombudsman warning

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence.

Many people think that having a few drinks at a party won’t affect them as they feel capable of driving, in fact, their only concern is to dodge the roadblocks and avoid being stopped by police.

Alcohol affects the cognitive functions of the person who is intoxicated. When driving you are called upon to multi-task, by concentrating on your steering, the road conditions, other vehicles on the road, pedestrians, and traffic lights.

Blood alcohol must not exceed 0,05g/100ml. With even less than this, your ability to drive safely is drastically reduced.

Ombudsman warning on How your Insurance could be Affected

  • Your insurance could decide not to pay you out at all.
  • Most insurance policies have a clause whereby they exclude cover for any loss or damage if the insured was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The insurers only have to provide circumstantial evidence that you were driving under the influence. It is not like in a criminal case where you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt.
  • Circumstantial evidence could be things like statements by the police and emergency services personnel at the scene of the accident, doctors, and nurses as well as eye-witnesses.
  • If the insurance company does not pay for your damages, the chances are you will be liable for the damages and losses yourself.
  • The Road Accident Fund can also refuse to pay out, with the result you will be responsible for the damage to the other vehicle as well.
  • You probably will not be able to get car insurance ever again. The insurance company will consider you high-risk.
  • If they suspend your driver’s licence, you won’t be able to get any insurance –  anywhere.
  • If your insurance does agree to pay out, you premiums could go up significantly, as you are now a high-risk driver.
  • If you refuse a breathalyser test, the insurance company can refuse to pay out.

Some Frightening Statistics

  • Six out of ten drivers who die in accidents have high alcohol levels in their blood.
  • 70% of adult pedestrians killed in accidents are drunk when killed.
  • At night when you are out on the road, 1 out of every seven road users is drunk.
  • When you have just one drink before you drive, your chances of having an accident double.
  • 50% of truck drivers and 30% of taxi drivers on the roads have been drinking or smoking dagga.


If circumstantial evidence suggests the probability of the insured driver being under the influence of liquor, the Ombudsman will support the decision of the insurance company to reject the claim.

The Ombudsman warning is Not to be Taken lightly

Arrive Alive makes sure that you are well informed about the consequences of drinking and driving. There’s nothing worse than coming upon a roadblock and knowing its the end of the road for you. 

You could kill an innocent person because of your recklessness, and stand the chance of paying a heavy fine plus having your licence suspended. Arrive Alive have consistently issued warnings about owning a car, drinking and driving in South Africa.

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All info was correct at time of publishing October 13, 2018