Tue | Mar 19, 2019

New breathalysers to help put brakes on drunk driving

Published:Wednesday | January 30, 2019 | 12:18 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Transport Minister Robert Montague (centre) is assisted by Cameal Stewart, education officer at the Road Safety Unit, in testing one of five new breathalysers during a handover ceremony yesterday. Sharing in the moment is Peter Donkersloot, general manager of Caribbean Cement Company, which donated the devices valued at US$2,500.

The Ministry of Transport and Mining yesterday received five portable breathalysers to boost the campaigns and outreach programmes of its Road Safety Unit.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the ministry’s Maxfield Avenue offices in St Andrew, Transport Minister Robert Montague lamented that while the Road Safety Unit has been doing a commendable job in spreading the message of road safety, motorists have not been as open to behavioural change.

“We are aware that there is a serious problem with persons driving under the influence of alcohol. ... The end result is that you end up with a lot of families ... in grief. It affects every single Jamaican because another bed is used up in the hospitals that you ought not to have been used,” said Montague.

The breathalysers, which are valued at US$2,500, were donated by Caribbean Cement Company, whose general manager, Peter Donkersloot, said that with safety being a top priority for the company, they wanted to play a part in keeping the roads safe.

“Since 2018, we have been using the breathalyser to enter the [Carib Cement] plant and our employees feel very safe and proud that they know that the person next to them is not under the influence.

“That makes everybody feel safer. The same thing might be applied for the road, knowing that you are driving safe and the person driving next to you is not under the influence,” said Donkersloot.

Since the start of the year, 25 persons have died as a result of traffic crashes.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com