Educational tools to put the brakes on drunk driving
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Durban - IN A BID to curb alcohol-related road fatalities, driving schools in Durban will be among the beneficiaries equipped with educational tools through an initiative by the UN Institute for Training and Research (Unitar) in collaboration with eThekwini Municipality.
This was welcomed by the NGO South Africans Against Drunk Driving (Sadd).
According to the Durban Metro Police, in 2019 there were 65 861 road traffic crashes, 5 500 of which were alcohol-related.
The first phase of the initiative, the Autosobriety Training Programme to Prevent Drink-Driving, kicked off on Sunday where instructors from driving schools, the eThekwini Municipal Academy and the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) as well as officers from the Durban Metro Police and the Transport Authority participated in a two-hour interactive workshop and planning session.
The programme is an educational module where participants learn about alcohol and its impact on their driving ability and was supported by alcohol beverage producer Pernod Ricard. It was also in collaboration with eThekwini Municipal Academy, Mile and the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Durban (Cifal Durban).
“Through this collaboration, enhanced awareness of drink-driving as a risk factor causing road traffic crashes is expected, as well as the implementation of the Autosobriety Training Programme in the existing training for municipal drivers, and its integration across other sectoral projects of the eThekwini Municipality,” said mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.
According to a statement by the city, the second phase of the programme would target municipal employees and about 100 driving schools.
It said the third phase would include road users where 5 000 beneficiaries would be targeted.
SADD Founder Caro Smit was pleased that the alcohol industry was spending money in eThekwini to curb drunk driving.
“We are not sure why money is being put into public information and education because the World Health Organisation states that education is just about meaningless if it does not come in with very high enforcement. If you do both then the effect would be very high,” she said.
In addressing drunk driving, Smit said it was important to speak about units of alcohol instead of ‘a drink’.
“One drink could be one quart as opposed to one small can of beer. On one quart you are over the limit whereas with a can you are not. As long as they use the correct education it will help in the driving schools. If they want to be effective in curbing drunk driving, there should be breathalysers in police vehicles. Before this, police would need to be trained on the seriousness of alcohol on driving and the effects it has on crash levels,” said Smit.
Meanwhile, over the long weekend, 18 drunk drivers were arrested for breaking the rules of the road said the provincial Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison.
In addition, 171 motorists were charged for speeding.
According to the department, the Road Traffic Inspectorate stopped 7 953 vehicles at roadblocks and other operations over the weekend. As a result, 672 written charges were issued to motorists, 136 motorists were charged for driving without a driver’s licence and 51 vehicles were suspended.
Moreover, a total of 102 motorists were charged for various offences such as failing to wear a seatbelt, driving unlicensed vehicles and inconsiderate driving. | Additional reporting by Thobeka Ngema