Beware of drunk, bad drivers – AA
10 December 2008
Drunk drivers and bad driving are major contributors to road fatalities, the Automobile Association said on Wednesday.
Motorists should learn to recognise potentially dangerous drivers and avoid situations that could cause harm to them and their families.
“It is important for road users to be constantly aware of the environment around them all the time while they are driving,” said AA spokesperson Gary Ronald said in a statement.
“They should learn to spot dangerous drivers and keep clear of them. No matter how severely you may be provoked, resist the temptation to retaliate, which may result in anything from a collision to a shooting.”
The AA urged motorists to be careful when driving near a vehicle in which the driver’s range of vision was limited, such as a fully laden truck with no side mirror.
Ronald said motorists should be careful of a vehicle that “wanders” across the road as this could be due to faulty steering or suspension, a drunk or sleepy driver. A vehicle that was dirty, rusty, missing body parts or had a badly smoking exhaust was probably in poor overall mechanical condition.
Ronald said accidents occurred more frequently between dusk and dawn, during morning and evening peak periods and at “closing time” for bars, hotels and clubs.
Motorists exceeding the maximum blood alcohol limit of 0,05mg per 100ml of blood might be arrested because the printout of a breathalyser was admissible as evidence in court. Drivers could be tried within hours, as there were no court delays waiting for the result of blood tests.
“Alcohol affects our vision, judgement, balance and reaction time. Because even one drink can affect you, it is advisable not to drink and drive at all.”
The maximum punishment for drinking and driving is R120 000 or six years imprisonment.
According to statistics one in 15 drivers in the evenings was over the limit, more than half of all pedestrians killed last year had been drinking, morning rush hour bumper bashings were likely the result of the previous nights’ drinking and the cost of crashes to the economy in 2007 was about R52-billion.
“There is no way to sober up quickly. It is a fallacy that showers and black coffee will make you sober. Your liver has to dissipate the alcohol in your body, which happens at a rate 0,02 mg per hour.
“If you are involved in a crash while you are under the influence, it will impact on your insurance payouts. Because you have committed an illegal act by driving under the influence, short-term insurers, life insurers and the Road Accident Fund can refuse to pay out claims,” he said. – Sapa