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Roadside breath testing will save lives when it comes – if it comes

Blow for change: the Government has promised to introduce roadside sobriety testing by the end of this parliamentary year

Did you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs this weekend?

Going by the statistics, there is a high probability that either you or someone you know did just that.

At this stage, we can confidently say that anyone who did had a lucky escape from injury or death as a result of that decision.

And if the Progressive Labour Party sticks to its promise of introducing roadside sobriety testing by the end of this parliamentary year, and if it is properly enforced, there will be a much higher probability of you ending up at least $1,000 lighter in the pocket with an 18-month road ban.

According to statistics provided by Anthony Santucci, chairman of the anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, at least 75 per cent of Bermuda’s road fatalities and a high percentage of injuries involve alcohol or drugs.

When you take into account that we have lost 118 people to traffic incidents in the past ten years and that there have been some 15,000 injuries in the same time, impairment is having a significant effect on the health of our countrymen.

Not many can communicate this more earnestly than quadriplegic Curtis Dill who nearly 35 years ago decided to jump on his bike after consuming a cocktail of alcohol and drugs, leading to a serious crash.

His spine was severed between two vertebrae in his neck leaving him paralysed for life from the shoulders down. He shares his emotional story with the community in today’s Royal Gazette.

Drive for Change is dedicating the month of March to exploring the issues surrounding drug and drink-driving. The campaign is advocating for the introduction of roadside sobriety testing among other road safety measures, while highlighting the need for better out-of-hours transportation.

Bermuda loves to party, there is no doubt, but this culture of riding home buzzed on a wing and a prayer or worse, earning bragging rights for making it home “full hot”, has got to change.

As transport minister Walter Roban told the Drive for Change campaign at its launch, these measures are not designed to ruin anyone’s fun; they are designed to save lives.