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Will the New Drunk Driving Laws Affect Your Car Insurance?

Did you know new laws are being considered for drinking and driving in our beautiful country? Drunk driving laws may soon become even more strict, and they could even affect your car insurance premiums.

Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to drive under the influence of alcohol. Not only is it more likely to cause a fatal crash, but you could also get into trouble with a police officer on the road. Drunk driving law is there to protect us all, but some think the laws are not strict enough.

What Are the Current Drinking and Driving Laws?

The current legal blood alcohol limits are 0.05g per 100ml, and the legal breath alcohol concentration is 0.24g per 1,000ml. This equates to having a beer after work and still ensures alcohol impaired drivers aren’t let loose on our roads.

The stronger the concentration of alcohol in the blood, the more intoxicated the driver. If you stay within the legal limits of blood alcohol concentration, you can avoid being arrested as a drunk driver (or worse, causing a fatal accident).

Why Are Changes Being Put Forward?

When the pandemic hit in 2020, full lockdowns saw a sudden drop in injuries and fatalities because of accidents. ICU rooms emptied of accident patients, ready to accommodate pandemic patients. Once the strictest lockdown rules were relaxed, it became clear that it was not just because most people were off the road.

Since drinking was prohibited at certain levels of lockdown, the connection between driving under the influence of alcohol and injuries because of accidents became more obvious.

South African roads saw many fewer accidents during the periods where drinking was not allowed. This means that the consumption of alcohol is a major contributor to the high levels of accidents on South African roads. As such, many feel it is time to bring the legal level down to zero.

What Changes Are Being Proposed in South Africa’s Drunk Driving Laws?

The government is currently considering changes to the law which would lower the legal limit for driving from 0.5mg/ml to 0mg/ml. The bill also proposes that the legal alcohol level in breath be lowered to zero.

The new National Road Traffic Amendment Act makes any alcohol consumption by motor vehicle operators in South Africa illegal. It was set to be passed by 01 June 2020 but has instead faced criticism from some civil society groups. As of March 2022, it is still in the legislative process and hasn’t made it to parliament yet.

How Will the National Road Traffic Amendment Act Affect You?

If these proposed changes to the National Road Traffic Act are passed, it could affect more than your evening beer. These changes have serious implications.

  • You may find yourself in trouble with the law if you are in any accident and have had even one drink.
  • Since some medications and foods can give false positives for alcohol consumption in the breath or blood, you might get into trouble anyway if you’ve had tiramisu, for example.
  • If you get caught driving with any level of alcohol in your blood, it goes on your record and can even influence your insurance costs.
  • This law aims to protect us by reducing the number of accidents, but some have pointed out that our current laws are sufficient; they just need to be enforced better.

Why Would a Drunk Driving Record Under the New Law Influence your Insurance Premium?

Your insurance policy includes terms, conditions, and exclusions. For example, suicide may not be covered, and they may require you to park your car in a locked garage. These terms often include a requirement for keeping the law and driving responsibly.

Reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol can negatively affect your risk profile. As a result, the insurance company may feel it is more risky to insure you. This, in turn, could cause your comprehensive car insurance premium to go up, since many insurers calculate your premium using your risk profile.

Insurers like King Price Car Cover and Santam Car insurance use your risk profile to determine your insurance payments. You can, however, still save on car insurance. King Price lowers their policyholders’ payments every month as insured motor vehicles’ values drop.

Should I be Worried About the Proposed Laws and My Car Insurance?

At this point in time, there is no reason to be concerned. If you aren’t in the habit of driving with a high concentration of alcohol in your breath or blood, you probably won’t get in trouble for it with a law enforcement officer. For now, your criminal record is safe. Unless you take part in other criminal activities, of course.

You also don’t need to be concerned about your car insurance. In fact, you could take the opportunity to make sure you’ve got the best, most affordable policy available. You can investigate different insurance products on offer from almost every insurance company in South Africa on our site.

You can also get an insurance quote easy and fast. Simply fill in the form at the bottom of this page, and our high-tech system will match you with the best insurer for your needs. Best of all, they will contact you – no call costs!

 

Disclaimer: information in this article is correct at the time of publication. The contents thereof should not be construed as any form of legal or medical advice – we provide it for mere informational purposes.

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