CAIRO - 5 September 2017: Although drink/drug driving is considered one of the most threatening and dangerous factors in road safety, Egypt does not apply random breathalyzersfor drivers on the road; and the drink driving law is not defined by the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In fact, Egypt doesn’t conduct BAC testing, neither for the general population nor for young drivers.
Deaths and accidents resulting from use of abusive substances such as Hash and Tramadol (an opioid pain medication that has serious side effects including decreased alertness and drug addiction) is far more common than alcohol in Egypt.
Egypt’s current traffic law prohibits driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Upon suspicion, the driver is referred to the nearest police station, which should refer him/her to a medical institution for examination, in accordance with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health’s instructions and code of conduct.
Designed by Mareez Girgis for Egypt Today
There is no such thing as SAFE drink-driving
Alcohol and drugs affect the driver’s ability to judge a situation, as well as his depth perception and vital motor skills required to drive safely. Meanwhile, the driver thinks that he/she is driving normally, exposing other people to harm.
According to the WHO, road traffic crashes increase when the driver’s levels of blood alcohol concentration are above 0.04 g/dl. It further suggests that the risk of a fatal crash occurring among those who use amphetamines (central nervous system stimulants) is about five times the risk of someone who doesn’t.
Strict standards worldwide
The strictest standards for drink driving are applied in Slovakia, Hungary and Romania where any BAC above .00% results in arrest.
In Russia, China and Sweden, a BAC above 0.02% leads to up to 6 months imprisonment.
Asian countries in general have super strict drink-drive laws, having witnessed alarming statistics for drink-driving related accidents. Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea have set a very low limit of blood alcohol concentration with 0.03% considered intoxicated. Those caught face up to two years imprisonment and a fine of $6,700. If the driver is involved in accidents, jail time reaches 7 years; and if any deaths occur, it goes up to 10 years.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Portugal all prosecute drivers with a BAC level of over 0.05%.
Punishments vary, including license suspension, imprisonment, fines and compulsory alcohol treatment programs.
Drink Driving Laws by country 2013 - Photo courtesy of WHO
Egypt’s newly proposed traffic law proposes a deduction of 5 points out of the 30 points system. The driver would also be arrested for a period between 3 and 12 months and/or a fine ranging from LE 1,000 to LE 3,000 for DUI.