Pietermaritzburg - The Automobile Association (AA) has announced a nationwide designated driver service in an attempt to curb the amount of deaths on the country’s roads.
The AA Designated Driver is a service that aims to ensure drivers will not have to drive after drinking during a night out.
“Statistics show that motor vehicle crashes claim the lives of more than 14 000 people annually with as many as 150 000 more injured,” the AA said.
“This costs the economy around R307 billion a year or 7.8% of GDP. More than half of this can be attributed to alcohol consumption, which is in itself a shocking number.”
The AA said South Africa’s poor public transport facilities mean that drivers may be tempted to drive home after drinking, even when they know they shouldn’t.
The service will operate seven days a week, 365 days a year, through a simple booking service for a fee.
AA said all the drivers have a clean driving licence and are older than 25.
Female drivers can be requested for added peace-of-mind for women and a communication is sent 45 minutes prior to pick-up with the driver’s name, an added security feature of the service.
“The AA Designated Driver service is going to make a big difference to road safety,” the AA said.
“It is the first get-you-home service provided countrywide by a reputable motoring organisation. Drinking and driving is just not worth the risk.”
South Africans Against Drunk Driving director Caro Smit said this is very good news for those responsible people in Pietermaritzburg who now have a safer option for getting home.
“Unfortunately many other people will continue to take a chance and drive home after drinking because they are not tested. It would be so nice to see more testing being done, both day and night, every day of the week. There is much too much emphasis on speeding in Pietermaritzburg, and not on drunk driving,” Smit said.