“Imagine that one bad decision you have made has cost
someone else’s life. You have taken away a father, a mother. A Grandmother and
Grandfather’s Granddaughter. A Brother’s sister. An Aunt and Uncle’s niece. How
would you feel? ”

The term Drunk driving,  refers to operating a motor vehicle while a
person’s blood and alcohol content is exceeding the legal limit that is set by the
law, and is the when a person cannot drive safely. The behaviour of drinking
and driving may result in many negative and disturbing effects and it is one of
the main causes of accidents. Not only will the driver be affected by the
trauma of the accident but other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians may be
injured and emotionally traumatized as well. But beyond that, there is the
emotional suffering to family members and friends who may lose loved ones or
have to cope with severely injured loved ones.

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Drunk driving is presently one of the biggest threats to
Road Safety in South Africa. More than 21,000 people have been arrested on our
roads in the last year due to drinking and driving and it has been shown that
50% of people who die on our roads are driving under the influence. Any person
driving on South African roads should be aware with the drunken driving laws in
South Africa. Here’s a summary of the laws: No person on a public road shall: Inhabit
a driver’s seat of any means of transportation, while the engine of which is
running, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Occupy a driver’s seat
of a vehicle, while the vehicles engine is running, while the concentration of
alcohol in any sample of blood taken from the driver is not less than 0.05
grams per 100 millilitres. If you are caught and suspected of being over the
legally allowed amount of alcohol, traffic authorities are allowed to take a
sample of your breath also known as to breathalyse the driver, which needs to
be less than 0,24 milligrams per 1000 millilitres of breath two hours of the
consumption of alcohol . Following this, if your exceed the allowed limit
authorities are then allowed to keep you for further assessment involving a
blood test, you are not allowed to refuse this and the authorities have the rights
to imprison you if necessary.

 When driving under
the influence of alcohol and you get caught means you will need to appear in
court. If you’re found guilty, you could face up to 6 years in jail. You could
also be responsible for fines of up to R120 000 and your driver’s license may
be suspended. The driver could also be faced with a criminal record which can
have serious consequences for the rest of your life that will affect going to
varsity applying for a job one day. Depending on previous sentences against
you, as well as the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you will face a
minimum fine of R2 000 or a two-year prison sentence, or both.

Accidents that take place due to drunk driving is a
terrifying event that often leads to physical harm and in many cases, people
lose their life. It could also result in families with lifelong expenses to
take care of their child, which is putting strain on the family. When people go
through such a devastating experience and survive, they at risk of developing
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).PTSD will occur when the driver experiences
flashbacks of what happened at the crash scene, often remembering the nightmare
that has changed their lives forever. These memories often appear when they
ride 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 loved
one due to another person’s carelessness causes strong emotions, especially
anger as the family’s life changes forever.

Tips on how to avoid drinking and driving first thing anyone
can do is make the choice themselves not to drink and drive. Educating the
youth, your family members as well as youth in your community is very
important. They must know the dangers of drinking and driving as well as the
legal consequences of these actions in South Africa. Volunteer with an
organization to end drinking and driving, this will help you to reach out to
more individuals and get the word across. It’s important to educate and be
educated on the affects, on not only the driver but other pedestrians other
families and passengers in both the drivers vehicle and other vehicles.

Safe driving contains a lot of benefits the most obvious
reason for driving carefully is safety. Drivers that are reckless put
themselves, their passengers and pedestrians at risk when they drive. Driving
carefully is financially gaining such as reducing the expenses on the damaged vehicles
after a collision and insurance for the vehicle and fuel. By driving safely you
are setting a good example to many people. The most important benefit is you
are less likely to pass away.

It’s very important to remember its “Better to Arrive Sober
and Late than Never.” Thank you