The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is planning to introduce new, stricter rules for motorists found guilty of driving under the influence, and this will include moving DUIs from a Schedule 2 to a Schedule 5 offence.

This move will place drunk driving in the same crime category as rape and murder. Arrested drivers may also have to spend seven days behind bars before they can even be considered for bail.

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane spoke to BusinessTech and said that the corporation is pushing for the changes to be made after a World Health Organisation report found that 60% of South Africa’s road fatalities are caused by drunken driving.

Speaking to the Sunday Times earlier this year, 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 present system of DUI sanctioning 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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