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‘Two glasses’ rule not accurate to measure alcohol limit, says expert

28 Sep 2020 / 12:23 H.

PETALING JAYA: The proposed amendments of the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 to enhance harsher penalties for drink-driving has left many uncertain of the limit of alcoholic drinks they can consume and drive without running foul of the law.

Malaysian Wellness Society president Datuk Dr Rajbans Singh (pix) said yesterday the old notion of keeping it “under two glasses of beer or two shots of liquor” to stay legal behind the wheel is a misconception.

He said many factors influence blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels in a person and it can vary from one individual to another.

“It all depends on how fast one’s liver metabolises alcohol and it is not the same with everyone. Hence, a fixed quantity of alcohol cannot be suggested to enable one to drive a vehicle. I would say anyone who drinks, regardless of the volume, should not drive.

“Use e-hailing services or have a sober friend or family member to drive instead,” the geriatrician and internal medicine specialist told theSun.

Rajbans also suggested that pubs and entertainment outlets invest in a breathalyser to enable its customers to test their BAC before leaving the premises.

He said providing such facilities are widely practiced at pubs overseas, and local businesses should adopt the practice.

Last week, the Dewan Negara passed an amendment bill which was tabled by the Transport Ministry to the Senate.

Under the amended clauses of the Road Transport Act, which is in line with the World Health Organisation benchmark, drivers with breath alcohol concentration of 22 microgrammes per 100 millilitres, 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood and 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine will be held for drink-driving.

Under current laws for the same volumes, the limit is 35 microgrammes for breath, 80 milligrammes for blood and 107 milligrammes for urine.

As for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing death, first-time and repeat offenders face a jail term of between 10 and 20 years, a fine of between RM50,000 and RM150,000, and suspension of their driving licence between 10 and 20 years.

Under current laws, the jail term is between three and 10 years, a fine between RM8,000 and RM20,000, and the suspension of driving licence up to 10 years.

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