Injury and death on South African roads are at an unacceptably high level. Many of the
causative incidents are due to drivers being under the influence of alcohol.
Preventative and post incident actions by law enforcement agencies are ineffective. The
judicial system also allows too many perpetrators to escape justice.
This dissertation explores the possibility of the medical personnel, involved in treating the
injured drunk driver, taking a more active role in delivering justice to the larger community.
It is argued that while the doctor has a duty of care to his/her patient, inclusive of a duty of
confidentiality, he/she also has a duty to the community put at risk by the drunk driver. In
order to perform this latter duty some of the rights of the patient may have to be limited.
In this study the current legal and ethical situation is considered and changes to the system
are suggested to give better effect to the communal duty of the doctor. This is done with
the Constitution and current South African law as a basis, whilst suggesting changes from an
ethical and legal point of view. Applicable foreign law is also referred to.
It is suggested that it be made mandatory for the doctor treating the injured driver to test
for alcohol consumption, even without the involvement of law enforcement. The results of
such tests should then be available, on request, to all affected parties, such as other injured
persons and insurance companies. Achieving this will require changes to existing law and
Mini Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2016.