The Guardian’s February 21st editorial on Drunk Driving in Trinidad & Tobago, raised the alarming fact that since 2004 we have averaged over 200 vehicular deaths a year. Many (if not most) of these deaths have been linked to alcohol consumption, yet we as a society still seem adamant on opposing efforts to legislate and criminalise impaired vehicular operation. I am sure most of us know someone who was in an alcohol-related accident. What gives?
Trinidad and Tobago got its most serious wake-up call about the new penalties for drunk driving on Friday, when Carl Pirmal was sentenced to jail for two years with hard labour for failing to submit to a breathalyser test. Consider that for a moment. All of the cases brought before the courts since the introduction of the blood-alcohol content test have resulted in fines, but Pirmal earned the wrath of the court by refusing, with abusive words, to submit to a third testing of his blood alcohol content on Carnival Tuesday, after his vehicle crashed into another one. Despite clear warnings from Deputy Police Commissioner Gilbert Reyes, who served as the Gold Commander of Carnival’s security initiatives, 11 people were arrested and charged by police over the Carnival weekend with driving under the influence of alcohol.
If there’s one thing that a party-happy public should take away from Carl Pirmal’s sentencing, it is that there is a new regime of road safety in effect in 2010, and at its core is the very clear understanding that not only is drunk driving a matter of zero tolerance for police officers, efforts to avoid and neuter the effectiveness of the breathalyser regime is also. Let there be no mistake, the business of road safety is a critical one. This country has a well-earned reputation for poor vehicular etiquette and deaths, as a result of automobile accidents having been on a steady rise since the year 2000, when 135 deaths were recorded on the nation’s roads. Fatalities due to auto accidents peaked in 2008 at 262, and there was a small drop in the number of deaths to 213, the lowest toll since 2004.
Read the full article here:
Ever since Jason was the perpetrator of a drunk driving accident in 2001 he has not touched a drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel (in fact the incident turned him into a teetotaler). He was lucky enough to get a second chance to be ’scared straight’. However how can you be so sure that you will be, or that you will not inflict harm onto others? Be safe, do the right thing.