Bike Enduro, Motoring News, road safety

What will zero alcohol do to you?

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Have you considered the implications of a ZERO level of alcohol in your system while driving? Will this proposed change affect you?

South African road safety and training organisation Masterdrive has some comments – as indeed does Carman’s Corner…

“Driving a vehicle,” Masterdrive says, “mplies the acceptance of a number of risks. Careful drivers are always aware of those risks and never allow them to reach critical level; alcohol, however, alters a driver’s subjective assessment of those risks and the result can be more-reckless driving.”


Irrespective of volume of alcohol consumed, the maximum legal concentration of alcohol (0.05mg/100ml of blood in South Africa) in the body is reached:

  • After half-an-hour, if consumed on an empty stomach.

  • After an hour if drunk during a meal.

On the other hand, it takes the body a long time to eliminate alcohol – at least an hour for a beer.

“What we commonly refer to as a ‘hangover’,” Masterdrive says, “is in reality being still inebriated.”

Alcohol abuse also has short- and long-term neurological and psychiatric consequences that can endanger road safety.


Certain drugs interact negatively with alcohol; some combinations can reduce alertness. When consuming drugs, legal or illegal, with alcohol the effect of the latter intensifies. This mixture can trigger mental dysfunctions that are extremely dangerous for road users.

Physicians, Masterdrive suggests, should be educating and informing themselves about these pharmacological facts.

To put the risk into perspective, the internationally agreed estimate is reflected below. As a good corporate citizen it would be prudent not only to learn from this but also to share the information with friends, families and colleagues.

What Carman’s Corner says: For sure alcohol and driving do not mix, in any concentration, but to reduce the limit to zero will be breached by, say, medicines that include alcohol.

It is also possible for the testing equipment carried by police can be in accurate. See this case from Port Elizabeth.

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