ERC seeks to lower blood alcohol limit

SWAKOPMUND

11 August 2018 | Government

Jessica Botes

The Erongo region is ranked third among regions with the highest road fatalities, with an average of 700 deaths recorded annually.

As a result, the Erongo Regional Council (ERC) is calling on the country’s lawmakers to adopt a recommendation for lowering the concentration of alcohol in any specimen of breath exhaled to 0.2 mg per 1 000 ml.

Swakopmund constituency councillor Juuso Kambueshe explained to Erongo that the region is spearheading this initiative because of the high death rate on its roads.

“Once this is gazetted it will be applicable in the entire country. We are driving this initiative because our region is most affected and we want to see cases of drunk driving decreasing,” he said.

Concerns were raised during a Erongo Regional Road Safety Forum (ERRSF) meeting held on 3 July regarding the high number of motor vehicle accidents in the region. The issuing of liquor licenses to fuel stations, the quality of imported tyres and the calibration of breathalysers were of particular concern as these are the biggest contributors to accidents in the region.

Ludmilla Habate Doëses, the chief regional officer, said during the meeting that the increased use of alcohol is a concern in Namibia and in particular to road users. She said Namibia has the highest blood alcohol limit and this together with tyre bursts, cause the highest number of fatalities on the B2 road.

Doëses also raised these concerns with the permanent secretary of the ministry of industrialisation, trade and SME development, Gabriel Sinimbo.

The ERC granted approval on Friday for a recommendation to be made to the ministry through the ERRSF that the Namibian Standards Institution certify the breathalyser from 0.37 mg to 0.2 mg per 1 000 ml. In comparison, South Africa’s legal limit currently stands at 0.24 and Botswana at 0.22.

A recommendation will also be made for stringent legislative standards and conditions to be implemented on the import and use of tyres. The ministry through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will also engage awareness campaigns on the quality of tyres and the Liquor Act and how it relates to businesses.

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