Even as people continue to be killed, many Zimbabweans remain unwilling to take stronger steps to address the problem of drunk driving.
By Donald Chidoori
A leading provider of risk management services in Zimbabwe, Minerva Risk Advisors has teamed up with Zimpact and Photobooth Co to host a LakeJuly – DJ festival at Lake Chivero from 28 to 30 July as part of an awareness campaign to discourage drunk and dangerous driving.
The DJ Festival is a 3 day event and will host some of the hottest and top DJs in the country. Lots of activities such as Beach Volleball, Braai’n , Dj Battles , Dancehall Sound Clash, Dance Battles, Artist Performances, are lined up for the festival.
The anti-drunk and dangerous driving campaign is aimed at combating a problem that kills over 800 Zimbabweans Annually.
Drinking is so heavily embedded in Zimbabwean culture that the LakeJuly Festival was started to educate the youth on the risks of drunk & dangerous driving and to keep Zimbabwe’s teens out of the accident statistics.
According to Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, Prof Sara Feresu; road traffic deaths are now the biggest killer of young people in Zimbabwe and that road traffic deaths are now a national health epidemic. 58 people were dying per 100 000 accidents and of these 30 percent were young people.
When young life is lost, the pain is magnified. To see a parent bury their child amplifies it further.
The purpose of the Lake July DJ Festival is to promote the safe and beneficial consumption of alcoholic beverages by responsible, adults so as to minimise the number of road traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers and minimise the loss of life as a result of RTAs.
The insurance firm is also supporting the ad campaign with a competition that will allow people to tag the firm whenever they are taken photographs at the photo booth, and get a chance to win prizes.
Users can also share microsite hash tags #dontdrinkanddrive #drinkresponsibly #eatbeforeyoudrink #designateadriver #youboozeyoucruiseyoulose on social media, to spread the anti-drunk driving discourse.
You Booze – You Cruise – You Lose
Accidents due to drunken driving are a major problem in Zimbabwe. The problem is unrecognized and hidden due to lack of good quality data. Just a few days ago the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) reacted angrily to statistics that were published by Zimstats showing an increase by over 100 000 in the number of accidents between 2015 and 2016. Arguing that the statistics were inaccurate and that accidents had actually gone down from 41 494 in 2015 to 38 620 in 2016. It is such discrepancies in official figures that make it difficult to account for the actual impact of drunk driving in Zimbabwe.
Here’s a look at the Road Traffic Crime Statistics recorded by Zimstats
However, it has been well recognised that the probability of a driver causing an accidents rises with the increasing blood alcohol levels. Alcohol causes a deterioration of driving skills even when downed at low levels. Research shows that the probability of accidents increases with growing blood alcohol levels.
Drinking, makes the judgment power of the driver impaired which is a very serious threat to road safety. Due to the effects of alcohol, a driver tends to take more risks like over speeding, becomes more aggressive and reckless and takes a longer time to react to emergencies.
Driving under the influence of alcohol has caused so much pain to many families the world over due to the loss of life.
Many lives have been lost and thousands injured to accidents caused by drunken driving. The loss of a loved one is traumatic. The trauma is so intense that the mind finds it hard to cope with the loss. Physical pain like the loss of an arm or a leg is hard to ignore.
Pundits have said that Not enough is being done or said about the drunk driving. The Minerva Risk Advisor You Booze – You Cruise – You Lose ad campaign is a stop towards taking action against the epidemic that has engulfed Zimbabwe’s roads.
Bottom line: Non for the Road
Before people embark for a journey after a long night of partying or binge drinking or before leaving a bar they usually take ‘one for the road.’ However do not under any circumstances down or take one for the road if you are going to be the driver. Don’t drink and drive you can save lives !!!