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New campaign to tackle road accidents

By Julius Businge

Beer maker, Uganda Breweries in partnership with Motion Media and Uganda Police recently launched the “Red Card’ campaign aimed at reducing incidences of drunk driving particularly on Ugandan roads.

The new initiative seeks to influence behavior change among people who drink and drive and will train over 300 traffic police officers, bar owners and accredited taxi cab drivers on how to manage people who are most likely to drink and drive.

Officials said the initiative includes the unveiling of ‘Replacement Drivers”, a new concept of professional drivers who can be called at any time to take patrons safely home in their own cars. The Replacement Drivers will be vetted by police and their contacts will be available in all outlets that sell UBL products.

The 2011 statistics released by the police indicate that 26.4% of total accidents in Kampala Metropolitan Area occurred between 11:00pm and 7:00am, the time which many people think drink and drive. Fatal accidents constituted 8.5% of accidents that occurred between 11:00pm and 7:00am.

‘The best way to keep our roads safe is to endure that law enforcement especially traffic officers have the training and information they need to tackle the problem head on,” said Alsdair Musselwhite, the UBL managing director, adding we believe that police checks are only effective if they are consistent and continuous over a long period of time and the need for rehabilitation workshops will stress the grave seriousness of the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Available data from the police for the year 2011 shows total number of road accidents resulting from drink driving or drugs were 289.

UBL’s partnership with the Uganda Police and Motion Media will see Police step up checks in the Kampala beer belts of Bugolobi, Kabalagala, Ntinda, Wandegeya, Kireka and Nankulabye among others.

Andrew Kaweesi, the assistant inspector general of Police said Uganda Breweries should be commended for boosting the Police to enforce the law on drunk drivers.

Kawesi said he was disappointed that some people were not listening and were ignoring the consequences of drunk-driving thus making the situation more difficult to control.

The campaign will initially be limited to the Kampala Metropolitan area before being rolled out to Wakiso and Mukono districts.

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