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Nile Breweries starts safe driving campaign

By Mubatsi Asinja Habati

In a bid to promote responsible consumption of alcohol in the country, Nile Breweries Limited has launched a Live a 3D Life campaign which emphasizes the dont drink and drive rule. Many of the accidents on Uganda’s roads are attributed to drink-driving.

Aware of the risks of irresponsible drinking of alcohol such as causing problems to one’s health, work, life, family or social relationships, Nile Breweries is moving a step ahead to advise the consumers on responsible drinking. The campaign will involve placing of electronic billboards on major road points to constantly remind the people to beware of the danger of irresponsible drinking and the effects of drinking and driving.

The campaign will roll out by erecting a number of billboards in high traffic points in Kampala to remind motorists about the dangers of being behind the wheel while drank, says Nick Jenkinson, managing director of Nile Breweries Limited.

According to Jenkinson, the campaign is not only about drink-driving but there are other areas of concern such as health, pregnant women and reckless advertising of alcohol to underage people. Nile Breweries has started a website (alcohol.com) that will teach people about the risks and benefits of taking alcohol.

During the launch, Primary Health Care state minister, James Kakooza, said that whereas moderate  drinking of alcohol is acceptable in many societies in Uganda, the abuse and misuse of alcohol imposes a heavy burden of health, social and economic effects that may interfere with the individuals personal, family and professional life and the community.

One of the major social impacts is the loss of life and injuries resulting from drink driving, says Kakooza.

According to the minister in Kampala City alone where so much driving is witnessed, an analysis of eight police stations that include CPS, Jinja Road, Katwe, Old Kampala, Kawempe, Kiira Road and Wandegeya shows a monthly fatal accidents that range between 20 and 30 are related to drink driving. He called for imposing of heavy penalties on those who drink and drive; and the police use of random, targeted and selective breath testing to stem the phenomenon of drink-driving.

Information from World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that drinking and driving increases the risk of an accident and the likelihood that death or a serious injury will result. The risk of involvement in an accident increases significantly above blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of 0.04 gram per decilitre (g/dl). A blood alcohol concentration limit of less than or equal to 0.05 g/dl is recommended for the general population.

Research by WHO indicates that a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 80mg/100ml blood is 2.7 times more likely to be involved in an accident compared to a driver at zero BAC.  Anecdotal evidence suggests motorcyclists may be at even greater crash risk than drivers at the same BAC.

Jenkinson, took a swipe at the manufacturers of unsafe and cheap alcohol calling on authorities to regulate them. He said the government should address low prices of alcohol.

In Uganda, the tested blood alcohol concentration level for drivers should not exceed 80 ml in 100 decilitres. At the same time the breath should not be more than 30ml in 80 dl of breath.

WHO recently ranked Ugandans the lead alcohol consumers in the world with an average person drinking 17.5 litres of alcohol per year.

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