Don’t Drink and Drive…a campaign to keep the road safe
Traffic accidents have been on increase since the beginning of year and invariably it involves drunk drivers. This morning, a simultaneous launch of a Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign took place in municipalities across the country as part of a road safety project. Through a loan from the World Bank, the project will see the use of breathalyzers and random testing. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Increased road traffic injuries and mortalities have become a perennial problem in rural Belize and the entire country. To address this public health concern, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development along with several other ministries have embarked on a Road Safety Project to reduce casualties and serious injuries. Today, at the municipal level and in every district, a “Don’t Drink and Drive” Campaign was officially launched; it featured a traffic management fair.
Daedra Haylock, PRfect Green Belize
“In every municipality they will be doing the same activity. They will be launching the “don’t drink and drive campaign;” the distribution of the education materials will commence and also they will be having a traffic safety and management fair. Each booth will have booths that will represent the first responders—whether that be the police, the municipal traffic body, the transport department, the emergency response and also Red Cross will be participating in some of the area.”
The road safety project is part of the wider Belize Municipal Development Project. Sanctioned by Cabinet back in 2013, it is being financed through a loan from the World Bank; the Social Investment Fund is the executing agency.
Ernest Raymond, Belize Municipal Development Project Coordinator, SIF
“SIF is the main body that is involved with this project and it is funded by the World Bank. And as it relates to this activity here; the Drink Drive Campaign, it is part of a capacity building program for the town and city councils where a firm has been hired to train traffic managers as well as to conduct a campaign for road users. So this drink drive campaign is part of that larger communication strategy that focuses or targets road users.”
So how will this awareness be promoted?
“A communication strategy was developed by a company from Denmark named SweRoad and they have a international consultant here named Jette Ravn and she developed that communication strategy and out of that strategy came the campaign for Don’t Drink and Drive. We developed posters, we developed beer mats that will be distributed to bars, we developed taxi streamers that will be attached to taxis, we have bumper stickers, t-shirts and we also have a musical jingle that was developed by a local Belizean musical artist and with the assistance of Channel Five. And also we developed testimonials of persons who speak to the impact that drink driving has had on their life or their family.”
….But does the Ministry of Transport have the enforcement capacity to get the job done? Chief Transport Officer, Crispin Jeffries says with the new shipment of breathalyzer testing equipment and training for traffic officers, will be ready…just in time for the Easter Break.
Crispin Jeffries, Chief Transport Officer
“The laws in place to deal with drunk driving are in three parts. The first part provides for the use of the breathalyzers; the second part provides for the sampling of the suspected person through either his blood and the third part is through his urine. Those processes are what the police as a part of the drunk driving campaign will be doing as a secondary effort. The initial effort is for all enforcement officers—being from the city, the transport department or the police—to deal with it together with a view to start with the testing randomly.”
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“I think that it is important as part of the project that we are getting technical assistance and training so that we can be more on point when it comes to enforcing those areas that we don’t traditionally enforce, like what you mentioned in terms of speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol. The gifting of the breathalyzers and the training on how to use them effectively will be very important.”
The theme of the campaign is “Think Before You Drink….Don’t Drink and Drive.” Duane Moody for News Five.
The Road Safety Project is expected to run thirty-nine months, ending in 2016.