PERAK wants a review of the implementation of alcoblow, a gadget aimed at curbing drunk driving. The body says that it may not achieve the desired objective of reducing road fatalities.
The Pubs, Entertainment & Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) represents members who run and manage major restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues in the country.
“We are keen on partnering with the government in enhancing public awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. However, we strongly feel that the stakeholders including PERAK should have been involved in the process, regulation and implementation of alcoblow,” officials of PERAK led by Nairobi Region Chairman Patrick Muya said at a press briefing in Nairobi today.
They added that the manner in which the alcoblow crackdown was being conducted raised many questions that need to be addressed.
PERAK criticized what they term as selective implementation of alcoblow saying police were only focusing on motorists heading home from entertainment spots.
The association further argues that the problem of high number of road accidents in Kenya cannot be attributed to alcohol alone since there are other major factors such as, road- unworthy vehicles poor road conditions with no markings or speed signs posted; unlicensed drivers or drivers with no proper testing; pedestrians; and driver fatigue.
“Statistics show that most accidents occur during the day and are caused by PSV vehicles, trucks and trailers. Small private cars contribute only 7 percent of total accidents in this country.”
The 0.35 limit that the authorities are using is too general, said the association, Other countries where these gadgets are used have varying limits depending on the driver. PSV drivers, young drivers (18 to 23yrs), newly licensed drivers, truck drivers, professional drivers, experienced drivers; all have different alcohol limits.
There are different alcohol limits also depending on gender, body weight and type of alcohol taken. In The UK, Canada and Switzerland, maximum alcohol levels are at 0.8.
The government re-introduced alcoblow breathalyzers in December last year partly to check rising road carnage especially during the festive season. The gadget measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. It then prints out results and if a driver is found to be above the stipulated threshold may be charged in court with driving under the influence of alcohol. If found guilty, one may be liable to imprisonment for one year or a fine of Ksh100,000 or both.
Perak is also demanding that the alcoblow initiative be subjected to further discussion among stakeholders.