The South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA) has stepped up its support for several harm reduction measures and road safety initiatives during the festive season. This season the primary focus will be on drinking and driving/walking.
SALBA Chairperson Pamela Nkuna said the industry was proud to continue its collaboration with AWARE.org and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on the Industry National Festive Road Safety & Social Norms Campaign. This year’s deployment, launched last week, involved further partnering with the National Traffic Police working with Provincial liquor enforcement. The focus is on the five provinces that contribute to 80% of road fatalities (Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga). The key messaging echoes that of the President and the Ministry of Transport – “together we can!” Law enforcement will also tackle specific hazardous locations and high-risk routes such as the N8 In the Free State and North West.
Nkuna said, “The industry’s consistent and ongoing message has always been to promote the responsible use of alcohol. We welcome the recent ‘zero-tolerance against drinking & driving’ announcement from the South African Police Service (SAPS), confirming its commitment to reducing this crime.” According to Gauteng Community Safety Dept, she added, almost half of the 650 people killed on GP roads in the first quarter of this year were pedestrians.
Nkuna pointed out that according to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA), distractions such as using a cell phone while driving, driving under the influence and speeding remain the biggest threats to road safety in our country. She called for a responsible approach to better enjoy the benefits of the festive season.
“It is important to understand that drinking responsibly means that even what you may think of as a ‘small drink’ – like more than two normal glasses of beer or more than a single shot of hard liquor – will probably put you over the limit,” she said.
To assist law enforcement in their task, 750 community patrollers, instrumental earlier on in encouraging compliance with COVID-19 regulations at an outlet level, would now also promote pedestrian safety as far as it relates to drinking and walking. In addition, nine mobile Alcohol Evidence Centres (AECs) and 200 breathalysers were handed over to traffic enforcement to screen and collate necessary evidence to successfully deal with the problem of drinking and driving. The total value of the contribution – AECs with PPE, consumables and equipment – is roughly R6 million. Since 2017, the industry has invested R59 million in the collaboration between Aware.org and RTMC in tackling the misuse of alcohol.
“The industry, working the government, would continue to encourage people to travel safely during this festive season through this initiative and promote similar collaborations that target crime prevention and the education of young people about the dangers of underage drinking,” she said.
Nkuna also called on motorists to take basic precautions and obey traffic and road regulations, such as having your driver’s licence with you, planning your travel route, leaving enough time to get to your destination safely, ensuring your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, making use of hands-free cell phone kits, and also ensuring that you have a designated driver or organise alternative transport if you are consuming alcohol.
“SALBA encourages people to drink responsibly and travel safely during this festive season,” she added. “Such behaviour will play an important role in rebuilding our economy through the survival and growth of our local tourism and hospitality sectors – essential parts of our value chain.”
Issued by FTI Consulting on behalf of the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA).