‘Drunk driving constitutes 10% road crashes’
Drunk driving has been identified as constituting 10 per cent of the causes of road accidents in the country.
As such, speakers at a capacity building workshop on road safety for journalists in Accra last Thursday expressed worry about the situation, and advocated a reduction in the country’s allowable 0.08 per cent of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to 0.05 per cent.
That, they said, would lead to a significant reduction in alcohol-related road crashes across the country.
BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol circulating in the bloodstream or the percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood.
The workshop was organised by CUTS International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) on the theme “Building the Capacity of Journalists on Road Safety Reporting”.
Mr Isaac Yaw Obeng, Head of Research, CUTS International, stated that one of the leading causes of death and injury around the world was Road Traffic Accidents (RTC), adding that an estimated 1.3 million people die as a result of road accidents.
“About 93 per cent of RTC cases and injuries occur in developing countries, and 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are listed in the top 20 RTC prone countries for cases and casualties,” he added.
Mr Obeng said the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that a significant risk factor for 27 per cent of all traffic injuries was drunk driving.
“As a significant risk factor, drunk driving therefore becomes a serious public health issue since the amount of alcohol in the blood is directly correlated with the likelihood that a car ccident will occur,” he added. Mr Obeng said the punishment for the violation of alcohol consumption limit should come along with strong public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and the existence of enforcement efforts through mass media and other strategic communications.
Ms Mavis Obeng-Mensah, Communication Officer, Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety Ghana (BIGRS), emphasised that drivers with a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.05 had at least a three times greater risk of dying in a vehicle crash.
“Laws that set limits on BAC of 0.05 or lower together with effective enforcement can lead to significant reductions in alcohol related crashes,” she said.
Ms Obeng-Mensah urged journalists to add their voices to the advocacy for a revision of the BAC level to help minimise road crashes recorded across the country.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR