Despite knowing this, many people drive under the influence of alcohol, only to meet with devastating results. Records in the country indicate that road accidents are on the increase, with lives being lost on our roads on a daily basis. Tanzania has a number of pieces of legislation primarily meant to make the country’s roads safer for all users.
And as so often happens, particularly in the event of grisly road smashes, one keeps hearing the authorities vowing that presumed culprits – chiefly motorists – would face the full wrath of the law if found guilty. For the record, 76.4 per cent of road accidents in Tanzania are caused by human mistakes and it is also known that some of these road accidents which continue to claim innocent lives are caused by drunk drivers.
However, it becomes encouraging for the country’s major brewer, Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), to be on the forefront of the campaign against drunk driving. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Johansen Kahatano of the Traffic Police Division, recently toured the TBL plant in Dar es Salaam and in one of his messages, concurred that some of the accident cases they receive involve drunk driving.
New findings have shown that the increase in the number of people involved in road accidents in the country is greater than population growth. “Tanzanians have heard much on source of accidents and I am happy that this campaign is being introduced by a major brewer. It means that they know the effects of excessive alcohol so they want to insist on their customers to drink responsibly,” he said.
He said that consumption of alcohol can be part of a balanced lifestyle, but if taken in excess it can lead to serious health and social problems. This made the TBL seek to devise a campaign to encourage responsible and safe drinking in the country. The ACP lauded TBL for their policies on their product, saying that it is a beer making company but they make sure that their customers drink responsibly, a policy which is also applied at the company premises.
As partners in the fight against road accidents, the ACP said that it is encouraging to see that apart from making alcoholic beverages, TBL is also responsible to the society by alerting the public over careless consumption of their product. “There have been numerous cases of people driving under the influence of alcohol and involved in fatal accidents. So in case you don’t want to risk your life doing something silly and dangerous, stay away from drinking and driving,” the ACP said.
He says that driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime and if found guilty, you can be fined heavily, sent to prison or have your licence suspended. The TBL Corporate Affairs and Legal Director, Stephen Kilindo says that as responsible brewers, they ensure that they communicate information which will enable their consumers to make well informed choices.
“As ambassadors, we are all responsible in communicating the company’s responsible alcohol consumption message to our families, friends and consumers,” he said. He adds that TBL continues to work closely with the police force in the country to ensure that people drink responsibly and that they do not drink and drive, saying that responsible drinking means that you never have to feel sorry for what has happened while you were drinking, adding that basically, this means not becoming drunk.
Kilindo also says that to make sure that they practise what they preach, the company has set stringent measures to make sure that their employees are not caught up in the vice that is drunk driving. He says that with alcoholic beverages in goods supply at the plant, they have put in place strict policies in controlling careless drinking by their employees.
“We are a mixed group of different people and there are some of our employees who are consumers of our products, but we make sure that even if they drink, it has to be after working hours,” he says. He adds that for those who feel like swallowing a couple of beers before they head home, they are allowed to take a maximum of only four beers and that is between 5 to 6:30 pm. “Simply being aware of your drinking behaviours and patterns can give you a better idea on how responsible you are in regard to your drinking,” he says.