SA drunks rev up calls to tighten booze laws

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A law which policy experts say could turn the tide in our booze battle has been stalled for four years

A study by Wits and KwaZulu-Natal universities shows there was a 60% to 70% dip in trauma admissions when liquor was banned at the start of the hard lockdown.Alcohol’s deadly hand in road crashes and violent attacks – thrust to the fore after booze was unbanned two weeks ago – has led to renewed calls for stringent liquor regulations to save lives.

This week, transport minister Fikile Mbalula called again for “stronger regulations” after three policemen were killed by a suspected drunk driver. The DTI’s Sidwell Medupi said gaps and challenges in the regulatory environment were being “carefully assessed”.We need to look at the trauma, both emotionally and economically, that death or severe injury causes a family, and also the re-traumatisation that occurs when there is not a conviction for killing or injuring one’s loved one.According to World Health Organisation data from 2016, SA ranks fifth in terms of per capita alcohol consumption.

The policy has three objectives: banning or severely limiting alcohol advertising, reducing the availability of alcohol, and increasing pricing through excise. A study conducted by the South African Medical Research Council in June, Road Traffic Management Corporation data and other research nationally, driver alcohol intoxication is believed to account for 27.1% of fatal crashes in the country, with an associated estimated cost of R18.2bn.

 

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