Drunk drivers behind bloodletting

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Reports that 32 people have already been killed and 247 others injured on our roads since the start of the festive season last Thursday are worrisome.

These figures are frighteningly ominous considering Christmas is tomorrow and New Year is a week after.

It is common that people revel with abandon during Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and road accidents are most likely to occur due to excitement and recklessness engendered by the festive mood.

Last year, the official figure recorded of fatalities due to road accidents during the Christmas and New Year periods was 92 out of a shocking 1 119 crashes.

One hundred and eighty two drivers were nabbed for drunk driving and this number belies the actual figures of drunk drivers on our roads during festive periods.

Drunk driving is a major cause for concern as it contributes to fatal accidents, but it is a vice that is largely neglected by traffic law enforcers.

The legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Zimbabwe is 0,8mg/ml, but many drivers are found on our roads after orgies involving lots of alcohol intake. Research has shown that in an hour, a person can become so inebriated that they can cause a fatal crash if they drive.

Drunk drivers should not only be kept off the roads but they should be punished severely.

Alcohol suppresses the nervous system and numbs the brain considerably reducing reaction time.

In the event of a crash, the drunk driver is most likely to lose control of the vehicle. The driver’s inability to make quick decisions naturally results in fatal accidents. People under the influence of alcohol are usually arrogant and this may translate into their style of driving resulting in deaths and injuries on the roads.

Research has shown that alcohol-related accidents are most likely to occur during the night than daytime and 75% of crashes occur between midnight and 3am.

Drivers are most likely to be alcohol-impaired during the night than during the day. It is also the time when drunk drivers infest the roads as they make their way home from pubs and parties.

Police should be more vigilant at this time. Research has also shown that those who are nabbed for drunk driving would have probably committed the crime at least 80 times without being caught.

One of the most devastating effects of drunk driving is harming the innocent. It could be a pedestrian, another vehicle or a co-passenger. The fact is drunk drivers trigger the suffering of others as a result of their irresponsible actions.

It is in light of this that we call for stiffer measures against those who drink and drive. Relatives and friends should also ensure they are not driven by people under the influence of alcohol.

We urge the police to be stricter with drunk drivers than what has been the case in the past where the police laxity has become almost a norm on our roads.