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Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice and show you how you can strike back legally.
Scorpion Legal Protection looks at drunk driving laws, how many units of alcohol are in common drinks and the current legal limit.
The legal blood alcohol limit for driving is less than 0.05g per 100ml of blood.
The legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24mg in 1 000 ml of breath.
People often ask how much can they drink before they go past the limit? This is a tricky question, because it can vary depending on whether you’re a man or woman, how much you weigh, if you’ve eaten food recently, what medication you’re on, how quickly or slowly your body processes and gets rid of alcohol, etc. However, Arrive Alive has said that the basic guideline in South Africa is that 2 drinks within 1 hour will put you on/over the legal limit, so don’t drink more than this if you will be driving.
So, how many drinks is over the limit? One unit of alcohol is equivalent to 0,02g blood alcohol, so two units and you’ve basically reached your limit.
Below is a rough guideline of how many units of alcohol are in common drinks, provided by Aware.org, a registered non-profit organisation with the Department of Social Development:
On average, it takes an adult an hour to process one unit of alcohol. However if you weigh below 68kg, it is important to realise that your body will take a longer amount of time to process alcohol.
Drunk driving law in South Africa
According to Section 65 of the National Road Traffic (NRA) Act 93 of 1996, a person cannot drive or even occupy the driver’s seat of a car with the engine running if their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. This means that even if you are just sitting in the car with the engine idling and you are in the driver’s seat, you can still be arrested – you don’t actually have to be driving or on the road to be arrested.
You may also be interested in:
Unlawful arrests: what you need to know
Assaulted by police?
Can you use lethal force to protect your property?
If you have a query, follow us on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (the first Thursday of every month).
* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. This is not financial advice. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 17 November 2020
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