ISSUES AT STAKE: Drunk driving requires positive reaction

THE term ‘accident’ is often a misnomer.

When someone gets behind the steering wheel drunk and causes loss of life with all its accompanying heartache, it cannot be called accidental.

And when the same tragic situation occurs with regularity, some serious action needs to be taken.

Let me get to specifics, and start by saying this article was motivated by the recent incident where cyclists were lucky to survive after being hit by an errant motorist.

Over the past year we have attended numerous early morning weekend collisions that have resulted in loss of lives.

Generally, they occur between 5am and 8am, when one would expect open roads and minimal traffic – safe conditions, one would assume.

But, while the innocent party involved is on their way to an early church meeting, or to start a day shift, or driving to Durban, the other is invariably returning from an all-night rave.

The reporter on scene is first appalled at the extent of the tragedy: high speed carnage is obvious.

Then the emotion becomes one of anger, as the content of one vehicle shows bottles of alcohol while the other reveals a church hat or a hard hat, children’s shoes or toys, or a lunch box packed for the tea break.

Traffic officials at the scene are far from immune to the emotions; they too have families and know someone is going to have to break the wretched news to loved ones.

It’s time something serious is done about these early morning tragedies, the root cause of which is all-night revelling.

In Australia, I saw in a number of establishments, signs stating that the manager on duty and the owner will be held liable for any person who leaves the premises over the limit and gets into a car.

While we may not get to that point in my lifetime, surely regular road blocks close to the well-known clubs – where people also often drink in the parking lots – would have a significant deterrent effect.

And while checking blood alcohol levels is good, what about testing for drugs and other illegal substances?

As someone has said: rather build a fence at the top of the mountain pass than a hospital at the base.


Dave Savides

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