OPINION | Why road safety can become a concern under lockdown Level 3
• Alcohol negatively impacts your driving ability
• Alcohol-related deaths registered on SA roads since 1 June
• Don't drink and drive
As of 1 June 2020, lockdown rules and regulations have been relaxed to grant South African citizens an increased freedom of movement. This does not mean you can go and do as you please, lockdown Level 3 is a much better proposition than levels 4 and 5.
What level 3 also brings about is the sale of alcohol. As soon as the first day of June hit, consumers were forming long queues at their nearest liquor store. It was extremely worrying, because are we that desperate for a sip of the nectar? Granted, alcohol in moderation never hurt anybody, but excessive amounts can.
In the first five days of June, when the sale of alcohol resumed, trauma units at hospitals saw an increase in cases. Causes: alcohol-related.
What measures do you have in place to avoid drinking and driving? Email us.
On 1 June, ten people were killed on Eastern Cape roads, with the provincial transport departing citing alcohol as a significant cause in these cases. Of these ten, eight were pedestrians. In another accident on Tuesday morning, a driver died while his passengers suffered severe injuries. In Kwazulu-Natal, a woman died and her five passengers seriously hurt.
In Cape Town, a motorcyclist rode into a stationary vehicle while its occupants, allegedly, drank alcohol on the side of the road.
These are just on the road and excludes other alcohol-related incidents we are not mentioning.
Car and bike accident. Image: Wheels24 archives
It's not rocket science
While some of us can handle our alcohol, others tend to go overboard. And the scary part is, alcohol-induced road users will get behind the wheel of a car and take to the road. Unless you've been ignoring the news lately, one would have noticed the massive decline in alcohol-related incidents and the decline in events that fall under the crime umbrella.
This is partly why police commissioner, Beke Cele, wanted the ban on alcohol to continue: because crime is a direct result thereof. Road fatalities, for the most part, is a result of alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your views on the matter, alcohol sale is a massive contributor to the South African economy. Taking it into account, sales needed to resume.
But when it comes to the safety of lives on South African roads, very little will deter users from taking alcohol before heading out. In a perfect world, our public will consume alcohol in the privacy of their homes or call a taxi service to transport them to and from a public watering hole.
If you do plan on hitting the road this weekend, please keep in mind that alcohol and driving do not mix. Alcohol and jaywalking do not mix. Stay safe, South Africa, and let's consider ourselves, and the next person.Refrain from drinking and driving. Image: iStock