The Road Traffic Management Corp (RTMC) is pushing for tougher action against those arrested for drunk driving – including making them spend at least seven days in a cell before they can be considered for bail, according to the Sunday Times. In a proposal to the Department of Justice, the RTMC asks that driving under the influence (DUI), speeding and reckless or negligent driving be reclassified in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The RTMC wants the department to change DUI from a schedule 2 to a schedule 5 offence.

The proposal recommends that suspects be treated in the same way as those accused of serious crimes such as rape, murder, theft and fraud.

Makhosini Msibi, CEO of the RTMC, said the law needed to be tightened to fight the scourge of DUI, which he said was the leading cause of road accidents and fatalities, especially during the holiday season. Justice Minister Michael Masutha's spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said the RTMC proposal had been on the table for some time and that discussions had started to move it forward.

Professor James Grant, of the School of Law at Wits University, said an umbrella approach would be futile, and that a better way to crack down on traffic offences would be to have more traffic officers on the roads and to strictly enforce the existing laws.

The idea that you're going to curb traffic offences and solve the problem by making it harder to get bail is preposterous,’ he said.

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