Drunk driving concerns raised as carnival approaches

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With the 2018 carnival season fast approaching concern about drunk driving is once again taking centre stage.

Event promoter Craig Ryan is encouraging patrons who plan to drink alcohol during the upcoming carnival season, to be responsible and get a designated driver to protect themselves and other road users.

“We can’t make anybody get a driver, but, if we talk about it enough, if we keep bringing up the issues, if we keep showing people that there is an all-inclusive something and there is a car accident right afterwards then you can put the correlation together,” he said.

Ryan, who is also a campaign manager for the Designated Driver Campaign says drivers must understand that there are consequences for driving while intoxicated.

Ryan added that Antigua and Barbuda should adopt the best practices of the world that encourage carpooling, appointing a designated driver and promoting less alcohol consumption.

Meanwhile, Norma Jeffrey-Dorset head of the Substance Abuse Prevention Unit, said an alcohol control task force was launched some years ago but it has since become defunct.

Jeffrey-Dorset added that the American University of Antigua (AUA) had committed to donating breathalyzers, however, due to the absence of supporting laws the donation never happened.

Now she is confident that the new campaign will yield some desired results.

“I think it will have a different outcome. People are more knowledgeable, people are more concerned, people are more aware, and I think people are more willing to see us come into the 21st century as a developing country,” she said.

Jeffrey-Dorset also suggested that party promoters should have staff monitoring parking areas for people who appear to be under the influence while attempting to drive and those monitoring staff should have the authority to confiscate the vehicle key.

“We need to be our brothers’ keeper because most of the time people don’t die but they injure someone, somebody is going to be put down and eventually it will become the government’s responsibility because the family will go to the government and make all kind of demands,” Jeffrey-Dorset said.