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With over 10 000 deaths per year related to drunk driving on our roads, South African authorities have decided to change the law, coming in June 2020 a demerit system will be implemented along with a zero tolerance approach to driving with alcohol in your system.

The new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act will go live in June 2020, along with this comes a new zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving, says Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The topic was first discussed in November 2019 and it has now been confirmed that the department will move forward with a 0% blood alcohol limit, meaning that drivers will not be able to get behind the wheel after having anything to drink. 

Currently the law states that for normal drivers the concentration of alcohol in the blood specimen must not exceed 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres and for professional drivers it must be less than 0.02 gram per 100 millilitres.

Along with the new zero-tolerance approach to drinking and driving comes the much discussed demerit system.

According to FIn24 each driver will start with zero points on their license with the max amount of points being 12. Each traffic violation will carry a different point value, once the driver hits 12 points on their license, it will be suspended for 3 months. One point is reduced every three months if no further traffic violations occur. Should a driver have their license suspended for a 3rd time they run the risk of losing their license permanently as it may be cancelled, the driver will then have to apply for testing as if they are a first time license applicant.

The new system will also prevent vehicle owners from renewing their vehicle license if your traffic fines are not paid in full, according to Wesbank.

So how will these new laws effect your insurance?

Well, some insurance companies predict that drivers with a bad record may face higher premiums whereas drivers with few to no points may gain favour and receive lower premiums, depending on how effectively the law is enforced. 

Drivers can avoid points piling up by adhering to all traffic rules and regulations, Always adhere to the speed limit and maintain a safe following distance between your car and the car in front of you. And put away your cell phone, as it slows reaction times, whatever it is can wait until you’ve arrived at your destination. Lastly, be courteous of those on the road with you and adhere to good road manners by respecting the rules of the road.

You can view a full break down of the point system here.