“Imagine that one bad decision you have made has costsomeone else’s life. You have taken away a father, a mother. A Grandmother andGrandfather’s Granddaughter. A Brother’s sister.

An Aunt and Uncle’s niece. Howwould you feel? “The term Drunk driving,  refers to operating a motor vehicle while aperson’s blood and alcohol content is exceeding the legal limit that is set by thelaw, and is the when a person cannot drive safely. The behaviour of drinkingand driving may result in many negative and disturbing effects and it is one ofthe main causes of accidents. Not only will the driver be affected by thetrauma of the accident but other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians may beinjured and emotionally traumatized as well. But beyond that, there is theemotional suffering to family members and friends who may lose loved ones orhave to cope with severely injured loved ones. Drunk driving is presently one of the biggest threats toRoad Safety in South Africa. More than 21,000 people have been arrested on ourroads in the last year due to drinking and driving and it has been shown that50% of people who die on our roads are driving under the influence.

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Any persondriving on South African roads should be aware with the drunken driving laws inSouth Africa. Here’s a summary of the laws: No person on a public road shall: Inhabita driver’s seat of any means of transportation, while the engine of which isrunning, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Occupy a driver’s seatof a vehicle, while the vehicles engine is running, while the concentration ofalcohol in any sample of blood taken from the driver is not less than 0.05grams per 100 millilitres.

If you are caught and suspected of being over thelegally allowed amount of alcohol, traffic authorities are allowed to take asample of your breath also known as to breathalyse the driver, which needs tobe less than 0,24 milligrams per 1000 millilitres of breath two hours of theconsumption of alcohol . Following this, if your exceed the allowed limitauthorities are then allowed to keep you for further assessment involving ablood test, you are not allowed to refuse this and the authorities have the rightsto imprison you if necessary. When driving underthe influence of alcohol and you get caught means you will need to appear incourt. If you’re found guilty, you could face up to 6 years in jail. You couldalso be responsible for fines of up to R120 000 and your driver’s license maybe suspended. The driver could also be faced with a criminal record which canhave serious consequences for the rest of your life that will affect going tovarsity applying for a job one day.

Depending on previous sentences againstyou, as well as the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you will face aminimum fine of R2 000 or a two-year prison sentence, or both. Accidents that take place due to drunk driving is aterrifying event that often leads to physical harm and in many cases, peoplelose their life. It could also result in families with lifelong expenses totake care of their child, which is putting strain on the family.

When people gothrough such a devastating experience and survive, they at risk of developingPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).PTSD will occur when the driver experiencesflashbacks of what happened at the crash scene, often remembering the nightmarethat has changed their lives forever. These memories often appear when theyride or drive a car, or when they see images that remind them of the accident,or even when reading about similar incidents on social media. Losing a lovedone due to another person’s carelessness causes strong emotions, especiallyanger as the family’s life changes forever. Tips on how to avoid drinking and driving first thing anyonecan do is make the choice themselves not to drink and drive. Educating theyouth, your family members as well as youth in your community is veryimportant. They must know the dangers of drinking and driving as well as thelegal consequences of these actions in South Africa. Volunteer with anorganization to end drinking and driving, this will help you to reach out tomore individuals and get the word across.

It’s important to educate and beeducated on the affects, on not only the driver but other pedestrians otherfamilies and passengers in both the drivers vehicle and other vehicles. Safe driving contains a lot of benefits the most obviousreason for driving carefully is safety. Drivers that are reckless putthemselves, their passengers and pedestrians at risk when they drive. Drivingcarefully is financially gaining such as reducing the expenses on the damaged vehiclesafter a collision and insurance for the vehicle and fuel. By driving safely youare setting a good example to many people. The most important benefit is youare less likely to pass away.It’s very important to remember its “Better to Arrive Soberand Late than Never.” Thank you