TALKBACK: Readers call for stats on drunk driving

SHERRYLYN TOPPIN, sherrylynclarke@nationnews.com

Added 20 March 2017

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LAST WEDNESDAY, members of the Barbados Road Safety Association staged a protest outside the Foursquare Rum Distillery in St Philip while a rum-tasting event was in progress.

President Sharmane Roland-Bowen said they were protesting against the lack of breathalyser legislation and the sale of alcohol to minors. Similar demonstrations, she added, would be held outside other distilleries and the offices of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).

At the time of writing, there had been 12 road fatalities, two more than all of last year.

But online readers are querying why the leap has been made to link those deaths to drunk driving. They are not denying it could be a contributing factor, but also point to the number of distracted drivers operating mobile phones and those who are in a hurry.

Here are readers’ views:

• Vadis T. Agard: So we’ve determined that the fatalities were caused by alcohol consumption. I guess I missed that bit of news. So lighting, speeding, reckless driving and road conditions, to name a few, aren’t challenges. Targeting the BTPA will also help with legislation – not the Attorney General. Oh, and all those underage children driving about too. I’m confused, obviously.

• Shelly Ross: It confused me too. Maybe they would be protesting at LIME and Digicel and all who sell cellphones. And against car companies for selling cars to thoughtless people . . . and Licensing Authority. Maybe someday they would get around to bringing awareness to taking responsibility for one’s actions.

• Thomas Katt: Anyone caught driving and texting should be arrested, charged and imprisoned. Straight.

• Olutoye Walrond: In the absence of testing, how does the Road Safety Association arrive at the conclusion that drunk driving is the main cause of accidents? My own feeling, based on observation, is that recklessness is the real culprit. Everyone seems to be in a great big hurry on roads that are narrow and winding. It is a recipe for disaster.

If alcohol were the real factor, given the quantity of drinking that takes place in Barbados, there’d be far more smash-ups on our roads.

• Mr Crowley: If you want to be taken seriously, you must bring statistics. Was alcohol responsible for all or the majority of these accidents? Were the people involved minors who were driving under the influence? I’m confused because minors don’t have a licence to drive. You first need to get your facts together before you stage protests that become meaningless in the eyes of some.

Sherrylyn Toppin is the Nation’s Online Editor. Email: sherrylynclarke@nationnews.com

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