Roadside sobriety tests for Cup Match

  • Roadside test: a motorists tests his breath in this file photograph

    Roadside test: a motorists tests his breath in this file photograph

Police will conduct roadside sobriety checkpoints to crackdown on drink driving during Cup Match weekend.

And a number of Bermuda’s bar and restaurant are backing the bid. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, announced the measure in the House of Assembly. Mr Caines said the checkpoints would be set up at strategic locations with details on their locations provided ahead of time.

He warned would-be drink drivers: “If you are found to be under the influence and in control of a vehicle, you will be arrested.”

Legislation allowing police to introduce checkpoints to screen motorists for sobriety was approved by MPs and senators this month.

Donald Hassell, owner of the Somerset Country Squire, said that a “great job” had been done in getting roadside testing in place.

Mr Hassell said that the news of next weekend’s sobriety checks would not affect how his customers were served by staff.

He explained: “We look out for our people.”

Mr Hassell said that he and his staff intervened when intoxicated customers tried to drive.

He said: “We try and take the keys from them and take them home — because we’re a community.”

Philip Barnett, president at Island Restaurant Group, said yesterday’s announcement would likewise not affect how his staff operated.

He added: “We will continue to be as vigilant as we always have been.”

Mr Barnett said that a key difficulty for his business — which operates four restaurants, including Dockyard’s Frog and Onion Pub — had to do with customers being able to make it home safely.

He explained: “Buses don’t run much past 11pm, taxis are difficult if not impossible sometimes to get.

“We are constantly struggling up in Dockyard — even during cruise ship season — to have taxis respond to any of our calls.

“If people can’t get home, they are possibly going to make stupid choices.

“And there’s something wrong there when we’re making it difficult for people to make the right choices.”

Saliya Alahakoon, manager at Henry VIII, said the restaurant supported the roadside checks.

He said that ensuring intoxicated patrons were prevented from getting behind the wheel was already a restaurant policy.

Mr Alahakoon added: “Our main concern is that we want to send them home safely.”

Anthony Santucci, executive director of anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada said that he anticipated the “significant” announcement of the stops would have an immediate impact.

He explained: “The natural result of that is that people will manage their consumption better.

“The fact that we know there are going to be sobriety checkpoints set up throughout the holiday weekend will in and of itself will send a message to people.”

Mr Santucci said that sobriety checkpoints weren’t designed to catch people.

He added: “They are designed to start changing the culture and people’s relationship with alcohol.”

Mr Santucci said the reform of alcohol legislation in Bermuda was the next task on his organisation’s agenda.

He said: “There needs to be an alcohol bureau of control to manage all alcohol sales and services.

“We thought that ten years ago, and we are still on that path.”

The announcement of the roadside sobriety stops came as part of a ministerial statement on the policing plan for the holiday weekend.

Mr Caines said that six Bermuda Police Services boats would also be on the water on continuous patrols.

He added: “Boaters are encouraged to adhere to all maritime laws and exercise courteous and responsible maritime behaviour.”

Mr Caines said about 150 police officers would be deployed over the weekend, with up to 50 additional officers on overnight shifts.

He added that stop-and-search powers would be actively used.

Emancipation Day celebrations at Horseshoe Bay Beach would be patrolled by 31 BPS officers backed by Department of Parks Rangers.

Mr Caines urged parents to help curb underage drinking.

He added: “In addition to the increased risk of violent antisocial behaviour following alcohol consumption, the heat and surf at the beach make intoxication especially dangerous.”

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Published Jul 28, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 28, 2018 at 8:00 am)

Roadside sobriety tests for Cup Match

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