New changes being pushed by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) may mean tougher rules for drivers found guilty of drunk driving will be applied.

As reported by the Sunday Times, the RTMC made a proposal to the Department of Justice that driving under the influence (DUI), negligent driving and speeding, be reclassified within the Criminal Procedure Act.

One of the main changes made will affect DUIs specifically – the suggested changes will mean that driving under the influence will go from a Schedule 2 to a Schedule 5. Effectively, this means that drunk driving will fall within the same category as rape and murder.

Arrested drivers may also now spend seven days behind bars before they will even be considered for bail.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Makhosini Msibi, CEO of the RTMC, said that the proposed changes were suggested due to the financial costs of road accidents for government. He added that the system, however, is flawed as offenders are often back on the streets within hours of being released from jail.

“Currently, if we arrest you for drunk driving you can be granted bail in terms of section 59 of the Criminal Procedure Act, and the senior person at the police station can offer bail,” Msibi said. “But if we then escalate it to Schedule 5 or Schedule 6, it should be a formal bail application in court. Above all, it must not be automatic, you must spend seven days before you can bring the application for bail.”

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