Say no to drinking and driving!Monday, August 09, 2021
We are failing as a country to stem the irresponsible, reckless, and downright stupid behaviour of drinking and driving.
Our alcoholic beverage companies, unfortunately, prefer to spend more money on advertising their products and feel they can justify that they are being socially responsible by simply tagging “drink responsibly” on everything. It is pathetic, to say the least.
This past week alone there have been a couple of drunk driving crashes in Kingston, resulting in injuries, extensive damage to vehicles and public infrastructure, emotional and financial stress for families, and extra burden on our health-care services and, unfortunately, a loss of life.
The entertainment industry should be playing a major role in ensuring the safety of their patrons, many of whom are young people — our children. Instead, they have, indirectly, encouraged excessive drinking with their all-inclusive, expensive parties. Why not reduce the ticket price and let people decide if they want to purchase a drink, instead of making people think they must drink their money's worth?
Parents must do their part too. Driving a car is a privilege and a huge responsibility and if your child is not responsible or disciplined enough to follow a commitment to not drink and drive then they should not drive. It is better to pick up your child from a function in the middle of the night than to risk them driving drunk or being driven home by a drunk friend — a situation that could potentially end in a tragedy.
Unfortunately, our crime situation does not allow for the luxury of the get-a-taxi-home culture like other countries, because the fear of being robbed, raped, kidnapped, murdered, or trafficked is a real. An individual under the influence of alcohol would be an easy target and our transportation system, unfortunately, is unreliable.
Friends need to step up because friends should never force friends to drink. Stop the peer pressure! If you know your friend is under the influence of alcohol do not allow that person to drive and do not get into a car with a driver who you suspect to be under the influence; it is simply not worth the risk. Most parents would prefer a call requesting a pick up in the middle of the night, rather than getting a call to identify their child's remains at the morgue. The rules are the same for adults, who should know better.
I hope the Government will look into providing funding to supply police vehicles and stations with the necessary breathalysing equipment. I am sure that the private sector in conjunction with the Diaspora could donate equipment and invest in the training of officers to support this important area of policing.
A couple of years ago, a blatantly drunk driver crashed into my niece and despite him being in the police station, he could not be breathalysed as they did not have a breathalyser. The drunk man, who had already caused one accident, was free to, once again, sit behind the wheel of his car and allowed to drive away. That is total insanity. There are presently no measures in place to force people to take the dangers associated with driving drunk seriously. We must take a stronger stance against drinking and driving.
Recently, the news highlighted schools that are implementing driving instructions and road safety as part of their curriculum. The consequences of drinking and driving should also be included as part of the road safety lessons.
Let us stop encouraging this dangerous practice. Start with yourself and your family and ask yourself: “Am I doing my part or am I part of the problem?”