Johannesburg’s road safety has taken a significant step forward as a result of a collaborative programme on DUI (driving under the influence) that is championed by the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (Aware.org) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
Representatives of the two entities got up-close during a recent Friday night during a DUI operation on a busy road in Alexandra.
Visible and frequent DUI operations help to deter individuals from drinking and driving. When such roadblocks are arranged, they also give law enforcement agencies the opportunity to check that vehicles are roadworthy or that drivers and passengers are not carrying illegal items.
Aware.org’s Managing Director Carmen Mohapi commented on the road safety partnership
“At Aware.org, our mission has always been to drive the responsible use of alcohol. Such operations align well with our vision to discourage individuals from drinking and driving and promote the safety of pedestrians and all road users.”
In his briefing at the operation, JMPD Superintendent Mike Botolo said that these types of roadblocks, assisted by technologically advanced equipment such as the hand breathalyser and evidential breath alcohol testing (EBAT) machine, have played a significant role in reducing incidents of drunk driving.
JMPD Superintendent Botolo commented
“Since the introduction of EBAT machines, we have witnessed a remarkable decrease in drunk driving cases. In 2011, we would arrest approximately 3 000 people for this offense monthly, but thanks to our partnerships with organisations like Aware.org, we’ve seen a substantial reduction in the number of drunk drivers.”
“We are developing programmes to raise education and awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, before and after an arrest, with the aim of preventing repeat offenses. These efforts will lead to a decrease in drunk driving accidents.”
In collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS), JMPD works to execute DUI operations and apprehend individuals carrying illegal items in their vehicles. This is done through thorough searches of vehicles and drivers passing through the roadblock.
Jordi Borrut, the Chairmen of Aware.org commented
“Conducting these roadblocks is essential in making individuals aware of the risks associated with drunk driving. We are also driving road safety through our strategic partnerships like the JMPD, public education and awareness campaigns that encourage responsible drinking behaviour. For us to experience a roadblock first hand underscores the importance of our commitment towards responsible drinking.”
Road safety remains a paramount concern for authorities
Partnerships like the one between the JMPD and Aware.org are instrumental in addressing this issue comprehensively. It’s not just about catching offenders; it’s about preventing accidents and advancing the safety of road users.
The success of the roadblocks extends beyond mere law enforcement. They serve as a deterrent, discouraging individuals from making reckless decisions, while increasing public awareness of the consequences of such actions to also assist in reducing road accidents.
Moreover, the partnership between Aware.org and the JMPD exemplifies the power of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and organisations with a vested interest in promoting responsible behaviour. The involvement in initiatives like this demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and public safety.
As the JMPD and its partners continue their endeavours to make our roads safer, it’s worth acknowledging the positive ripple effects of such initiatives. Reduced incidents of drunk driving mean fewer families torn apart by accidents, fewer lives lost, and fewer individuals facing legal consequences. It also translates into lower healthcare costs and less strain on emergency response services.
Based on the fruitful outcomes of the programme, plans are underway to apply the approach and learnings and expand the programme to other provinces with inadequate road safety and high rates of drunk driving.
Mohapi commented on Aware.org’s ongoing road safety partnership with the JMPD
“The ongoing partnership between the JMPD and Aware.org is not just about enforcing the law; it’s about fostering a culture of responsible behaviour on our roads. It’s about saving lives and building safer, more harmonious communities. As these efforts persist, we can look forward to advancing road safety for Johannesburg residents.”
More info about Aware.org
Aware.org is dedicated to promoting and supporting the responsible use of alcohol. Their programmes target specific areas of harmful alcohol use: underage drinking, consuming alcohol during pregnancy and road safety.
They follow recognised behaviour change approaches and use research to inform our interventions. Aware.org is an initiative of the alcohol industry in South Africa and they collaborate with a range of organisations that have a track record in the areas we have prioritised for action.
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