Drugged driving in South Africa: An urgent need for review and reform






Driving under the influence is a major threat to road safety in South Africa. Various psychoactive substances (both licit and illicit) have the potential to adversely affect driving performance and increase the probability of a road traffic accident. While it is common practice in South Africa to test drivers for alcohol levels, testing for additional impairing substances (including drugs of abuse) is rarely performed. In terms of current South African legislation, only driving under the influence of alcohol and a ‘drug having a “narcotic” effect’ is prohibited. This excludes several impairing psychoactive drugs which are not classified as narcotic substances. The aim of this article is to highlight issues and/or limitations surrounding drugged driving and to propose appropriate considerations for revision of the National Road Traffic Act. We also recommend revising existing legislation to include a comprehensive statutory definition and detailed provisions for drug testing to deter impaired driving.


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Author Biographies

Jade Liebenberg, University of Pretoria

Jade Liebenberg is a Masters of Medical Criminalistics graduate from the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Pretoria.

Lorraine du Toit-Prinsloo, University of Pretoria

Lorraine du Toit-Prinsloo is a forensic pathologist appointed as an extraordinary lecturer in the Department of
Forensic Medicine at the University of Pretoria.

Gert Saayman, University of Pretoria

Gert Saayman is the Head of Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Pretoria and the Chief Specialist, Forensic Pathology Service, Gauteng Health.

Vanessa Steenkamp, University of Pretoria

Vanessa Steenkamp is the Head of Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pretoria.






Research articles