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Saturday, September 26, 2020
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    Driving under the influence!

    From Friday night to Sunday night, 23 people were arrested in GMM for driving under the influence.

    The Govan Mbeki Municipal area has been inundated with accident reports for several years now. It is not only weekends that see accidents happen, but also weekdays. Pay weekends are especially dangerous on the roads. The Bulletin has been reporting on most of the accidents in and around GMM.
    Reporters from The Bulletin endeavour to visit every accident scene that we report on. The following observations were made on the scenes. Most of the accidents that happen at night is mostly because a large amount of liquor is involved. While this cannot prove that drivers are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is alarming that so many accidents scenes are littered with bottles in various stages of consumption.
    Two specific incidents took the internet by storm recently, one international and one local.
    In a video that went viral, the driver of a Toyota Carolla can be seen calling for Piet, the alleged driver of the vehicle. The man calling for Piet was later identified as Sydney Graham by other publications, even the Sunday paper, Rapport, placed the story.
    The Bulletin received a call regarding an accident in Horwood Street, Secunda, just after midnight Sunday night the 1st of September. 
    Upon arrival, it was clear that this was no ordinary accident. Sydney was walking around asking for Piet, much to the delight of everyone around! The Toyota that Sydney was travelling in was a total wreck. The Toyota overturned and collided with a pole on the side of the road. The impact of the collision with the pole completely flattened the roof of the Toyota. 
    Rapport wrote in their article that Sydney confessed that Piet is actually himself. “My friends call me Piet when I am naughty,” Rapport quoted, “I think that it was Ricky Louw (Richelieu) that made me call Piet at the scene.”
    Rapport also quoted “Ek het baie stres met my gesin. Daarom het ek te veel gedrink.” It translates to: “I have a lot of stress. That is why I drank too much.”
    The Bulletin will place all the videos on Facebook to enlighten our readers with all the “entertainment” at the scene. 
    The second incident involved a traffic officer that was arrested on Sunday for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. A call came through on the Zello 911 assist 24/7 group requesting help with a driver that was allegedly severely intoxicated.
    Afriforum, as well as the Zello 911 assist 24/7 team, responded and found the alleged drunken officer still behind the steering wheel of his vehicle. The SAPS were called and a doctor of the National Traffic Police gathered the necessary evidence.
    Driving under the influence is not taken lightly by the authorities. 
    In November 2018, the RTMC proposed to the Department of Justice that driving under the influence (DUI), speeding and reckless or negligent driving be reclassified in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act. It also wants arrested drivers to spend at least seven days behind bars before they can be considered for bail.
    Wheels24 reported the following on 5 December, 2018: “The 2017/18 SAPS annual crime statistics reveal major concerns for motorists in South Africa. SAPS report 86 160 cases of motorists driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, an increase of 14.8% (2015/16).” As well as, “Carte Blanche said: “Motorists who drink and get behind the wheel are fuelling South Africa’s staggering road death toll. Last year over 86 000 cases were reported. But a lack of law enforcement coupled with lenient sentences in the rare event of being apprehended has meant that less than 11% of drunk drivers are held accountable.”
    The N17 has the dubious record of being part of one of the 20 most dangerous roads in South Africa, maybe it’s time to start adding the R546 to that group too.  
    Several people were arrested over the past weekend for driving under the influence. 
    What is the limit?
    Your blood may not have an alcohol content of more than 0.05g per 100ml. This means that even after what you may think is a “small drink”, you could be over the limit. If you have more than 350ml of beer OR if you have more than a single tot of brandy or other spirit, you may already be over the limit.
    Remember that these levels of alcohol will remain in your system for up to EIGHT hours after consumption!
    Do not take chances – rather stay where you are until you have sobered up or arrange for alternative transport home from wherever you plan to drink and make such plans to ensure that you are not left stranded.
    What will happen if you are caught over the limit?
    Members of the South African Police Service, the various Metropolitan Police Departments and other law-enforcement agencies are more frequently conducting road blocks and manning other checkpoints to discourage people from drinking and driving. If you are stopped at such a roadblock and if it is determined that you have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol that you may legally consume while driving, you will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Liquor.
    You will be held in custody until you are able to post bail, in certain instances bail may be denied, depending on prior convictions against you, as well as the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you face a minimum fine of R2 000 or a two-year prison sentence or both. You may also lose your driver’s licence or have it suspended. And, of course, you will have a criminal record!
    From Friday night to Sunday night, 23 people were arrested in GMM for driving under the influence.
    It is time to stop drinking and driving!

    Driving under the influence!