It will not prevent drink driving’
The Royal Gazette took to the streets yesterday to gauge public opinion on the introduction of roadside breath tests.
Members of the public were asked if they had experience of drink driving and what they thought of the Government’s plan for police to conduct random tests at checkpoints.
The move received mixed reviews.
Terrik Brown, 20, from Sandys, said: “People definitely drink drive. I think there’s a line we push and we all know that we drink and then think we can drive. It’s a question I ask myself a lot. Is drink driving a problem? Now I realise it definitely is.”
Mr Brown added he had a friend who was hit by a drunk driver.
He said: “He was riding along and got hit, getting injured really badly. It took him a while to recover.”
Cassandra Da Pont, a 16-year-old from St George’s, said that she was aware of drink driving in Bermuda.
She added: “I haven’t seen it happen, but I know of people affected by drunk driving.
“Someone I know was coming from town on his bike and was driving drunk before he then dozed off.”
Ms Da Pont said: “You can’t ever stop it completely, there’s nothing you can do. Random checks might help.
“We should already know drink driving is bad. It should be common sense that you’re putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation.”
Francesca Lines, 20, from Pembroke, said that most people she knew in Bermuda had driven drunk.
She added: “I don’t like it but I try not to think about it too much because there’s really not much I can do aside from asking if they’re OK to drive or telling them I don’t think they should.
“At the end of the day, it’s their decision to drive and the problem is that there is often no other way to get home or to where you need to be.”
She also felt that roadside checkpoints would not be a solution.
Ms Lines said: “It will not, in my opinion, prevent drunk driving. It may deter it slightly if the consequences of being caught are severe enough.”
She said: “There aren’t enough cabs on the island and I’ve had several experiences where we have waited up to two hours for cabs and, in the end, someone had to drive drunk because no cabs ever came.
“There are never cabs on Front Street when bars are closing, which is crazy because once the bars close everyone will be looking for ways to get home.”
Jonelle Cometemte, 36, said he had not seen any alcohol-related accidents and did not know anyone who drinks and drives.
He added: “However, I know it is definitely a big problem in Bermuda and I hear about it a lot.”
Mr Cometemte, from Southampton, said: “I think random sobriety tests done by the police will be helpful, but that does not mean it will stop drink driving altogether.”
Nikki Pereira, 21, from St George’s, agreed drink driving was common in Bermuda.
She said: “I personally don’t have any experience, but I know a lot of people who do. People know it’s bad but it seems pretty accepted.
“People know they might be stopped and still risk it, so I don’t see it helping all that much.”
Clyde Simons, 50, from Sandys, said that he had personal experience with drink driving.
He added: “If you’ve got to get from point A to point B and the buses aren’t running or taxis are too expensive, you take that chance.
“You’re putting yourself and somebody else’s life in your hands. Sometimes if you get in an accident when you’re drunk, it’s not always your fault.
Mr Simons said: “I don’t agree with the sobriety tests, they are intimidation. I think it will be an aggravation and an agitation.
“They’d be stopping me, maybe sober, and I’m trying to get on with my life. Maybe it’s 1am or 3am in the morning, then yes, the police may have a right to stop a driver and check.
“Then again, if I’m not driving out of order, I shouldn’t be stopped.”