Will a 0% BAC work?

Accident showing legs and feet of man lying on asphalt

Photo: Accident showing legs and feet of man lying on asphalt. Credit: Raw Pixel.

Drunken driving was drawn into the spotlight again following a weekend crash where a suspected drunk driver killed himself and three police officers in a head-on collision. Consequently, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula proposed changing the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit to 0%.

Real change, however, depends on a change in behaviour and not just legislation alone. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, explains: “Someone who does not respect the current BAC limit, is unlikely to respect a lower one. Those who will obey a 0% BAC limit, are likely not the ones who break the current limit.

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“We need to accept that a real difference can only be made by changing the drinking behaviour of drunk drivers. A change in behaviour can only be realised once people truly understand how dangerous and destructive drinking and driving can be. The onus is on society, corporates and individuals to initiate this change.”

Use the analogy of vehicles that easily reach speed of 200km/h to better understand why changing the BAC level will have limited efficacy. “Many cars are more than capable of travelling at this speed but does the responsibility of not recklessly driving at high speed lie with the manufacturer? The answer is no and societal perception appears to concur with this as there are no calls for manufacturers to stop designing cars that can be driven at high speed.

“Instead, the onus to drive responsibly is placed on the driver and, failing that, penalties form law enforcement. As ineffective as it would be to ban performance and sports cars, so would it be to try ban drink driving all together. Instead the key lies in showing people who drink and drive (or reckless drivers) just how dangerous it is and consequently, change behaviour.”

Broken window of a car after a crash.
Photo: Car crash accident. Credit: Artom Kulakov.

The best way to promote change in behaviour is to give driver’s first-hand experience with drunk driving while sober. “MasterDrive shares this message with drivers using their ‘Drunk-Buster Goggles’ that simulate one’s perception after drinking. Basic tasks such as walking around the Drunk-Buster mat or picking up a set of keys becomes incredibly difficult.

“The lesson can only be truly understood by experiencing it yourself. Consequently, MasterDrive is available to attend corporates safety days where drivers can wear the goggles themselves and start on their path to changed behaviour. Minister Mbalula himself acknowledged that there is only so much a 0% limit can do without strict enforcement. Along with this, however, society needs to start changing drinking behaviour permanently,” says Herbert.

If you would like your employees to experience the Drunk Buster Goggles, contact MasterDrive on info@masterdrive.co.za

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