Nigerian Breweries Plc and the Federal Road Safety Corps are collaborating to curb drunk driving among commercial drivers during and after the festive period.
Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, the FRSC Corps Marshal, said this on Thursday while launching the 2018 “Dont Drink and Drive” enlightenment programme organised jointly by both NB and FRSC on Thursday at Ojota Motor Park in Lagos.
Oyeyemi, who was represented by Bisi Kazeem, the Corps Public Education Officer, said that FRSC had been firm with its campaigns for safe motoring environment since inception.
According to him, the campaigns have propelled the corps to map out strategies to achieve the reduction of road traffic crashes by 15 per cent and fatalities by 25 per cent on yearly.
The FRSC boss noted that ember months were a period of festivities but debunked the belief in certain quarters that forces on the roads were responsible for road crashes and fatalities.
He attributed the crashes to the struggle by most people, especially commercial drivers, to make more profit in preparation for the yuletide without adequate rest.
He said the corps had resolved to use the media and all public enlightenment platforms to dispel the erroneous belief and to proffer a way forward for the reduction of road and, if possible, eliminate crashes through the campaign.
Oyeyemi said enforcement programmes would run concurrently with enlightenment campaigns, especially “Operation Cobra” initiated to curb offences such as drunk driving, dangerous driving and route violation among others.
In a remark, Hyginus Omeje, the FRSC Lagos State Sector Commander, said the 2018 campaign was the 11th edition of FRSC-NB Plc collaborate effort toward raising the awareness of drivers on responsible alcohol consumption.
Omeje said: “This sensitisation will create a safer motoring environment for all road users and fulfil of our corporate strategic goals for 2018.
“Thousands of people have died or suffered from physical or mental disabilities every year due to drunk driving and drug abuse.
“Analyses of crashes recorded in Lagos State over the past two years show that in 2016 a total of 441 reported cases were recorded with 971 injured and 165 deaths.
“In 2017, 425 cases were recorded with 1,005 injured and 113 deaths while 2018 from January to September, a total of 304 crashes were recorded with 691 injured and 95 deaths.”
The sector commander said that in 2015, a total of 2,600 persons were randomly tested using Digital Evidential Alcohol Testing Machine.
According to him, 247 tested positive while 2,353 tested negative.
Omeje thanked NB Plc and other agencies for identifying with the fight against the deadly menace of traffic crashes.
Also speaking, Jordi Borrut, the Managing Director, NB Plc, said the campaign was an important part of the company’s long-term sustainability agenda, tagged: “Brewing a Better World.”
Borrut, represented by Oluwatosin Solabi, Sustainable Support Manager, said: “Our Brewing a Better World strategy helps us identify ways to contribute positively to the planet through six focus areas.
“The focus areas include protecting water resources, reducing CO2 emissions, sourcing sustainably, promoting health and safety, growing with our communities and advocating responsible consumption.
“The Don’t Drink and Drive campaign falls under advocating responsible consumption introduced in 2008.”
According to Borrut, NB Plc has held enlightenment rallies at popular motor parks and other locations in 42 cities and towns across Nigeria.
He said: “In the process, we have directly engaged with over 20,000 drivers and other road users.”
The manager commended FRSC for its continued dedication, tenacity and commitment towards reducing crashes and fatalities on roads.
He said: “It is important to note that as the year comes to an end, we are encouraged to pay more attention to the dangers that are associated with the ember months which make up the last quarter of the year, October to December.
“In this regard, we encourage road users most especially our commercial drivers to drink responsibly as your life and that of others are in your hands.
“One mistake on the wheel can take the lives of many.”
In his remark, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, the Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Lagos State chapter, also commended NB Plc and FRSC for the yearly enlightenment.
Agbede, who was represented by his deputy, Olawale Ajilo, noted that driving is a profession which also has ethics that drivers ought to adhere to.
He said: “You cannot get to the bank and see a banker drunk.
“Likewise a tailor.
“But why will a driver get drunk before embarking on a journey knowing that many souls are in the vehicle?”
Agbede, therefore, advised drivers to shun the habit of drinking while driving to ensure safety on the road.
He said: “Although the roads are bad, but drivers must caution themselves and have self-discipline in consuming alcohol.”