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Drunk-driver net comes up empty

Published:Friday | December 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM
SSP Radcliffe Lewis

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

The Police Traffic Division redoubled its effort to net drunk drivers leaving some of the more popular shows in the festive season. So far, however, it has returned empty-handed with no offenders.

Hundreds of motorists attended places of entertainment over the Christmas holidays and although scores of them were tested for over-the-limit drinking, not one was found in breach.

Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, who heads the Police Traffic Division, reported recently that special teams of police personnel would be stationed outside entertainment venues to conduct random breathalyser tests of patrons as they leave.

He had said that the teams would pay special attention to the popular Boxing Day concert, Sting, which is held in Portmore, St Catherine, and the so-called entertainment strip in New Kingston.

But yesterday, Lewis told The Gleaner that while more than 60 breath tests were done during the holiday, all the motorists came up clean.

"Over 60 tests were done over the weekend and up to this morning and all of them showed zero reading, which simply means that they have not being drinking," he said.

Not everyone endorsed Lewis' decision to test motorists during this period. One Gleaner reader in a letter to the editor yesterday blasted him for his random approach indicating that it was a grand waste.

The reader said, "The random testing of persons is a waste of police resources and equipment, and, more importantly, a waste of people's time. The police need to start targeting specific individuals in all areas of policing instead of throwing out a big net and hoping that one of the catch will be an offender."

The move by the Traffic Division comes as part of an attempt by the police and other stakeholders to consolidate the huge reduction in road fatalities this year and ensure that Jamaica records under 300 road deaths for the first time in more than 13 years.

Between January 1 and December 27 this year, there have been 252 deaths on the roads in comparison to 306 for the corresponding period last year.