Don’t risk becoming a killer

2018-09-18 06:00
PHOTO: sourcedPolice warn against drunk driving.

PHOTO: sourcedPolice warn against drunk driving.

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CAR crashes caused by high speeds as well as high blood alcohol levels — ranging from 0.13g to 0.37g — are frequently linked to cases of multiple people being killed or severely injured on South African roads- according to statistics by South African’s Against Drunk Driving (Sadd).

According to Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith, a 2015 survey showed that more than 17 000 people were killed annually by drunk drivers, with approximately 150 000 people being injured.

“People need to start taking this more seriously. Just think, what if your family, child, or someone you loved was involved in an accident and dies due to a drunk driver,” she said.

She said that driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, or drunk driving, is still an ongoing problem in Hillcrest, and in South Africa as a whole.

“People don’t seem to understand the consequences of drunk driving. And by this I mean not just by being arrested, but by being involved in a car accident and having someone seriously injured or killed,” she explained.

Furthermore, she said it is something that the irresponsible person will have to live with for the rest of their life, should they survive the incident.

“When we hold our roadblocks, I would assume we will arrest youngsters, but the majority of the drivers we are arresting are adults who know about life and right from wrong.

“At our last roadblock we arrested 18 people. That amount of drunk drivers in one area in one night on one road is absolutely unbelievable and appalling.”

SA Community Crime Watch (SACCW) founder Steven King agreed with Smith that the rising number of cases of people driving under the influence is a concern, saying: “People who attend parties, or just feel like having a few at home, don’t always realise the consequences of starting up and driving after having a few.”

“Drinking and driving can cause drowsiness, impaired vision, reduce reaction times, reduced concentration and vigilance, feeling more relaxed and drowsy, which may cause one to fall asleep at the wheel, difficulty in understanding sensory information, difficulty doing several tasks at once (e.g. keeping in your lane and in avoiding other traffic), failure to obey road rules, and over-confidence which may lead to risk taking.

“We have come across many accidents where drivers were visibly drunk but, due to a shortage of breathalysers, were not charged. We have also seen cases where drivers get into another car with either friends or relatives and are whisked away with a new driver waiting to give a statement saying they were the driver.

“The sad part is that so many innocent people are losing their lives as a result of another person’s inability to take control of their habits and thereby destroying the lives of others.”

“I know from experience that there is a shortage of breathalyzers and that not all drunk drivers make it to the police station. Education is paramount regarding the use and abuse of substance, then getting behind the wheel,” said King

To conclude, King proposed that there be heavier penalties for people caught drinking and driving, including potentially losing their license permanently, saying: “A life taken cannot be given back and neither should a license if caught under the influence.”

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