The holidays see some of the most tragic road accidents, with families being injured and losing members due to drunk-driving related incidents.


JOHANNESBURG – The holidays see some of the most tragic road accidents, with families being injured and losing members due to drunk-driving related incidents.

With upstarts like Uber challenging the conventional taxi industry by offering cheaper fares, and many companies offering drive-me-home services, getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol should not be an option.

“It’s so easy to make a proper plan. Enjoy yourself but make a plan to not drive,” warns Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane.

Mamonyane urges the public to “do the right thing. Call the companies that offer drive home services”.

Yet season after season people continue to drive under the influence.

If you’ve ignored the warnings and got caught, here are the facts:

1. You will be arrested for being over the limit

Arrive Alive states that the legal alcohol limit of 0,05g/100ml is exceeded after just two standard beers.

If you are suspected of driving over the limit, you will be Breathalysed.

2. Your blood will be taken

If the Breathalyser tests positive, you will be taken into custody and sent for further testing at an alcohol testing centre.

A registered nurse will take a blood sample from you. The sample will be securely stored and transported by the police to a laboratory.

3. You will be detained

Once you have been arrested you will be taken to a police station, where you will be detained in the holding cells for at least four hours to sober up.

The JMPD’s spokesman, Wayne Minnaar says that on busy nights, like on weekends, it could be longer before you are processed and released.

A docket will be opened and you will be allocated an investigating officer who will follow up your blood test results.

Now would be a good time to alert family or friends to your arrest, if you haven’t done so already. If you do not have a phone, you will be permitted to use one at the station.

4. Bail

The bail amount for driving under the influence varies depending on the jurisdiction of the police station, says Mamonyane, but most require R500.

5. You car will not be impounded

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you car will be taken to the police station. Your keys will be held and returned to you once you have been processed and paid bail.

If your vehicle is impounded, usually because it’s been involved in an accident, “you would need to go to the traffic department which impounded your vehicle and pay the impound fees in order to get it back”, explains the Justice Project SA chairperson, Howard Dembovsky.

“Being a very irresponsible adult”

If you have been arrested with children in the car, Mamonyane says most officers try to protect the minors from experiencing the ordeal, “so as to not expose them to the trauma of witnessing the arrest”.

It’s ”about time for people to realise we have to take responsibility for (their) own actions,“ says Mamonyane.