Drink Driving In Botswana
There is a very big drinking culture in Botswana. People love to party, and they love to party hard. When they party, there is always alcohol involved. I’m talking copious amounts of alcohol. This is not just a case of let’s eat, party and be merry. This is about people drinking themselves into oblivion, getting “ rat arsed ”, and practically getting legless!
What is worrying is the fact that men and women, boys and girls are all at it. The drinking culture that was once unique to the men has now extended to the women. There was a time when there was a stigma around women “drinking men under the table” . Sadly, the “ ladette” culture has put paid to that, as women up and down the country indulge themselves to excess and wear it like some type of badge of honour.
What bothers me though is that people insist on drink driving! Let me just point out that after HIV/AIDS, drink driving is the second biggest cause of fatalities in Botswana . This is such a huge concern for the government that it’s taken “severe” steps to try and to address the situation.
One of the measures that the government has implemented is to hike the alcohol levy to 55%. Besides it punishing people who drink responsibly, this to me won’t solve the problem. I strongly believe It’ will probably lead to a lot of hungry and neglected children instead, but that’s discussion for another day!
The government has also introduced the “ booze bus ”, in a failed attempt to shame the “perpetrators” into slowing down on their drinking. This bus, manned by the police; goes around rounding up drunk drivers as well as rowdy and unruly drunks. I’ve not personally seen it, but I believe the “ booze bus” has in-built cells into which the police “pour” the drunken louts, where they’re left to sober up before being dropped off at their different addresses. I’m not entirely sure how successful this scheme has been, but I have my doubts. They probably view it as a free ride at the end of a rough night.
Most people don’t see anything wrong with drink driving whatsoever. They view leaving their cars behind and instead taking a taxi as a major inconvenience. I’ve had many a discussion with people who openly drink drive, about the dangers of drink driving. In the end I’ve had to shut my mouth and turn a blind eye; as I have been called self-righteous and many other unpleasant names. I reckon as long as I don’t have to ride in their car, I should leave it alone.
Even as they see their friends and innocent lives perish in accidents that could have ben avoided, even as they are detained and charged hefty fines, even as their licenses are confiscated for a time; they still insist on drink driving!
It breaks my heart. My stance on this will never change, though. Not only is drink driving a danger to yourself, but also to innocent people who don’t deserve to be mown down, maimed and scarred for life, and at worst tragically killed as a consequence of careless and reckless behavior.
Do you have a culture of drink driving in your country? How does your government address it, and what are your thoughts on it?
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