CARIMAC students use workshop, soup booth to promote safe driving
Patrina Pink, Gleaner Writer
Almost like a tragic chain of events, motor-vehicle accidents have claimed the lives of at least eight students from the University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology and the Northern Caribbean University this year. Some of these crashes were caused by speeding and drunk driving.
As tribute to those who have perished and also to educate students on safe-driving practices, the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communi-cation's (CARIMAC) public relations final-year group launched a safe-driving workshop and campaign at the Students' Union at Mona last Thursday. The workshop, which was titled 'Wreckage: Driving for U and WI', took place during the popular Appleton Integration Thursdays, a weekly celebration whose mandate it is to create group synergy on the campus.
The CARIMAC workshop sought to capitalise on the Appleton Integration Thursdays' crowd and it did. The three-hour session was well attended and featured various booths from several road-safety stakeholders. Officials from Grennell's driving school offered up discounts to students and a team from the Ministry of Transport and Works' Road Safety Unit and the National Road Safety Council mounted a colourful booth and counselled students.
Da'reon Sevanell, representing the Road Safety Unit, lauded the public relations team on a commendable job. He also sought to impress upon the students the gravity of the issue that stood before them.
"Youth between the ages of 15-29 have accounted for 33 per cent of the 300-plus road fatalities this year," said Sevanell as he threw facts to the audience.
He also said the party scene and a feeling of immortality among youth were main factors in some of the fatalities reported. Sevanell added that though the 82 deaths that have occurred so far were slightly fewer than last year's figure for the corresponding period, it was still too high.
"You have persons using their BlackBerrys and driving and sometimes that takes two hands which is certainly worse than chatting on the phone," he said.
Responsibility from party planners
The CARIMAC team also instituted a soup booth at the Students' Union. Klieon John, a member of the team, said they were committed to offering soups and other liquids to students each Thursday night if sponsorship from Linstead Market, a canned food company, continues.
Sheldon Reid, a final-year literature major and a regular at Integration Thursdays, said the soup bar would go a far way in offering an alternative to alcohol. He, however, feels that more should be done not just by the UWI, but by all who plan parties targeting the youth market.
"I think that in addition to a soup bar or a detox station, every party should have a place to go where persons can take a breathalyser to see if they are intoxicated or not," he said.
He added that some were honestly unaware of their drunkenness. "Bwoy, sometimes you feel that you're good and it's only when you take the test you realise."