29 Nov


Tis the season to be jolly tra-la-la-la-laaa….

We are all looking forward to the end of year break. Time to relax after a hard year’s work. Some of you will be traveling on the roads to family and friends or various holiday destinations. Traffic in your hometown may also increase due to more visitors and tourists driving around.

Here’s what you need to know to keep safe on the roads


While it may be tempting to answer that call or phone your bestie (we all know we have done it), it remains illegal to do so. Think about it; is hearing about the latest relationship drama or newest bit of gossip really that urgent? Regulation 308A of the National Road Traffic Act states that –

(1)  No person shall drive a vehicle on a public road

 (a) while holding a cellular or mobile telephone or any other communication device in one or both hands or with any other part of the body;

And, in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town Traffic By Laws, 2011 further state that:

 (3)  an authorised officer may, in the public interest and safety of the public, confiscate and impound a hand held communication device.

So, unless you want to spend the festive season without your phone or pay a hefty fine to get it back, it’s best to wait until you have arrived at your destination, or make use of hands-free devices. If you are expecting a call that is truly urgent you always have the option of pulling over to the side of the road. Phone calls that are that important will always take up a lot of your attention and you are putting yourself at risk (of not seeing the traffic officer, at least!) by taking them while driving.


For those looking forward to some cocktails or beers to celebrate – here is some of what you need to know:

  • Standard glass of wine: 2.1 units
  • “Draft glass” of low strength beer: 2 units
  • “Draft glass” of high strength beer: 3 units
  • Bottle of lager: 1.7 units
  • Cider: 1.5 units
  • Single spirit with mix: 1 unit

For the average adult weighing 68 kg or more it will take an hour to process one unit of alcohol. If you weigh less it takes even longer!

The limits are:

  • a breath-alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1 000ml;
  • a blood-alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml.

We’ve all been in situations where one beer or glass of wine turns into a few (or even, dare I say, too many). While you might think you are fine to drive and might even be up to operating a crane, the fact remains that the huge risk is not worth the tiny reward. What is the reward anyway? Driving yourself home and saving yourself a bit of a hassle by not leaving your car behind? When you think about it there is no way that such a small payoff is worth a huge fine or even going to jail. Not to mention the fact that you are putting your own life and those of others in danger.

So – how much can you drink? One unit of alcohol is equivalent to 0,02g blood alcohol, so after 2 units and you’ve basically reached your limit.

So, to keep safe on the road:

  • Stay sober, i.e.: do not drink anything if you are going to be driving;
  • Appoint a designated driver;
  • Make use of taxi / “drive me home” services.


Over the December holidays we are all in a rush to reach our holiday destination as soon as possible, however, for your safety and those of others, please keep to the speed limits – failure to do so can be a very costly affair! Holidays are already expensive enough as it is. R800 could buy a lot of meat for a braai or a nice meal with a sea view. Do you really want to get home and get that sinking feeling when you see that beautiful picture of your car?

On our National Roads the maximum speed limit is 120km/h. Herewith the summary of fines payable if you are caught speeding:

Speed Fine
131 – 134 R200.00
135 – 139 R400.00
140 – 144 R600.00
145 – 149 R800.00
150 – 154 R1 000.00
155 – 160 R1 200.00
161+ No Admission of guilt – you will have to appear in court!


For fines or the contravention of other speed limits please visit:

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is published for general information only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol and our bodies will break it down at different rates. We therefore give no assurances that if you drink only 2 units of alcohol, you will be below the legal limit. Please drink responsibly, and err on the side of caution. Do not drink and drive.

Our offices will be closed from Noon on 24 December and reopen on the 2nd of January 2020.

We wish all our friends, family, clients and colleagues a very Happy Holiday. Have fun, stay safe and see you in 2020.

Lisa van der Merwe
Miltons Matsemela
December 2019