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'Drunk driving stats under reported'

South Africans against Drunk Drivers says even one small glass of wine affects driving skills.

South Africans against Drunk Drivers says even one small glass of wine affects driving skills. Picture: Sxc.hu

CAPE TOWN - South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) says drunk driving statistics are under reported.

A Durban police station had 1,481 arrests in 2012 and only 111 convictions.

In Cape Town, 3,089 motorists were arrested in 2013 for driving under the influence of alcohol, but only seven percent of them were convicted.

SADD's Caro Smit says drunk motorists get away with murder.

"They don't think that drinking and driving is a serious crime. The justice system doesn't treat drunk driving with the seriousness that it deserves. So that is part of the problem and people get off on technicalities.

"Any alcohol affects driving skills. Even one small glass of wine affects it."

"There tends to be a lot of sympathy for the drunk driver and very little for the victims. We have about 1,200 people who die every year as a result of drunk driving. And the World Health Organisation says our statistics in South Africa are under reported. They put the number around 20,000 to 25,000."

Prominent South Africans convicted of drunk driving include ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, Judge Nkola Mothatha and Robert McBride. However, McBride's conviction was later overturned.

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 people have been killed on South African roads over the festive season.