About Time We Start Having A Serious Discussion Around Drinking and Driving

ZIMBABWE is currently in a state mourning following the demise of one of the country’s most prominent businessperson, Genius Kadungure famously known as Ginimbi who died early Sunday morning in a traffic accident together with three of his colleagues.

By Michael Gwarisa

At age 36, Ginimbi was taken away tragically from this world and just like that, a vibrant and hardworking young person is no longer in our midst. Michelle Moana Amuli’ one of the occupants of the Ginimbi’s Rolls Royce Wraith also perished in the same accident and she was only 26.  May their dear souls rest in eternal peace. Even though Ginimbi’s postmortem results are yet to come out, video evidence on the internet shows that he had been partying and drinking all night which might have led to the poor judgement he made when he attempted to overtake those two vehicles at one go.

The year 2020 has already been described by many Zimbabweans as a tragedy and everyone just can’t wait to put this “god forsaken” year behind them. There has been so much death already and guess what, it’s not only COVID-19 killing folks, road accidents are also contributing a fair share to these deaths. Is there something wrong with the year 2020? is this a haunted year? Are we all going to die in 2020? The answer to all these questions is a Big NO. There is certainly nothing wrong with the year 2020 but there is probably something wrong with our attitude and approach towards life.

We have one life to live and we can avoid pre-mature deaths by acting responsibly especially on things we have control over. Yes, we cannot avoid death, but we can avoid getting behind the wheel after getting high or intoxicated. Because we have been locked down for a while due to the COVID-19, whenever we get the chance to party, we go the extra mile. Again, there is nothing wrong with partying, there is however everything wrong with driving after partying wildly all night.

Drinking and driving should never be an option and Law enforcement organizations should enforce tougher penalties for such behavior.

Driving under the influence leads to poor judgment which could lead to some negative and heartbreaking consequences. Accidents fall under the category of Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) and according to statistics, road traffic accidents related deaths have been on the increase over the years. According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), 1000 people die annually and 3000 get injured from alcohol-related traffic accidents. Alcohol also is linked with over 200 disease and injury conditions, taking over three million lives, a year worldwide.

In the United States, all states have adopted 08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for drivers ages 21 and older. Alcohol increasingly impairs drivers as the blood alcohol level increases leading to some loss of judgment and altered mood, decline in visual function and ability to perform two tasks at once, exaggerated behavior and release of inhibition, loss of small-muscle control, such as eye focus, Impaired judgment and lowered alertness, reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects, muscle coordination (balance, speech, vision, reaction time, hearing) amongst a host of others.

When blood alcohol levels are around .15% BAC, there is much less muscle control than normal, major loss of balance, substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving and necessary visual and auditory information processing.

However, in the midst of all these deaths and injuries, all hope is not lost we can still do something to stop these alcohol related road accidents and deaths from occurring. Here are some of the measures we would take to reduce alcohol deaths and accidents.

  • Don’t Drink and Drive

Before we even go anywhere, lets start by addressing the elephant in the room and in this case its drunken driving. Just learn to value your life. You have one life and by driving under the influence of alcohol and any other substance, you could put yourself and others in harms way.

  • Designate a driver

A few years ago, Delta Corporation introduced what they termed the designated driver model where they were encouraging people to identify amongst their friends one person who does not drink and ensures only, he or she gets behind the wheel when they are drunk. This concept should be promoted and probably adopted by many to ensure lives are not lost unnecessarily.

  • Get a ride home

As silly as this may sound, its probably one of the best ways out of this mess. It might be difficult to leave that beautiful car of yours behind at the bar but trust me, its safer that way. Just get into a lift or taxi back home and probably get your car the following morning.

  • Don’t allow equally drunk friends to drive you

The designated driver concept only applies to sober friends and not those you would have been drinking heavily with. People have a tendency of claiming to have some super skills once they have downed one but too many. Some may even claim that they can drive. Never allow your drunken friends to drive you. The risk is just the same.

  • Call the police if you suspect a drunk driver

If you suspect a drunk driver on the road, call the police and provide the location, direction the vehicle is headed, the vehicle’s make, model, color and license plate number. In Zimbabwe this might be a toll order though but its worth trying. By doing this, you could save lives.

 

 

 

 

 

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