Police, hospitality operators join hands to fight drink-driving

The month of June focuses on “Don’t Drink and Drive.” Courtesy

Rwanda National Police (RNP), on Friday, held several meetings with owners and managers of hospitality facilities across the country and discussed joint measures to prevent reckless behaviours like drink-driving.

The meetings, held separately in all regions of the country, were in line with the 52 weeks of the national sustainable road safety campaign.

They brought together owners and managers of hotels, motels, restaurants, guest houses, bars and night clubs. It comes at a time when RNP and partners in road safety are scaling up efforts in this month of June to raise awareness on impaired driving.

While addressing owners and managers of hospitality facilities in Kigali, Senior Supt. Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi, the spokesperson for the Traffic and Road Safety department, reminded them of their duty in the safety of their clients.

“A drunken person is no longer your customer that day, but he will be your customer the following day when he or she is alive and well. If one is drunk, reach out and advise him or her to take a taxi or motorcycle,” SSP Ndushabandi said.

He added: “Don’t just look at your business and the number of bottles one has empted that day; don’t have a drunken customer who will leave your joint to go and die in an accident or kill other people on the road.”

He noted that 90 per cent of road accidents are caused by human behaviours, including driving under influence.

He also urged them to involve waiters and waitresses in monitoring drunken customers to prevent such persons from driving or riding, instead find other appropriate means for them to arrive home safely.

“There are four causes of accidents; weather, status of road and automobile and human behavior, but when you analyze the first three you will find that it’s the fourth character that controls them. A driver’s positive mind will anticipate what might happen when it’s raining, when you are driving on a feeder road, when brakes are not functioning well, and will abide by the roadside traffic control signposts, which tells you the status of the road ahead,” SSP Ndushabandi said.

Yves Shirimpumu, from the chamber of tourism at Private Sector Federation (PSF), observed that they have encountered cases where clients get drunk and get involved in accidents.

The chamber oversees the association of hospitality in Rwanda.

 “We are indirectly responsible for the safety of our customers, we equally own this Gerayo Amahoro campaign because clients arrive at our joints safely, so we must ensure that they also leave and arrive home safely,” Shirimpumu said.

It was agreed that a notice with ‘don’t drink and drive, enjoy responsibly’ message be placed on counters and tables in hospitality facilities. Security guards, waiters and waitresses will also be engaged in identifying drunken customers especially those who drive to prevent them from going on the wheel.

The separate meetings also agreed to fight serving alcohol to minors and abuse of drugs said to be common in their vicinities, as well as allocating smoking areas as required by law.

The Ministry of Health issued a communiqué recently reminding the public that “smoking in public is prohibited by the law.”

Law n°14bis of 08/04/2013, article 11 concerning protection of non-smokers from environmental tobacco smoke that affects people’s health; prohibits smoking in public place including premises meant for work.

These include the courtroom and surroundings, factories, cinema halls, theatres and video houses, health facilities, restaurants, hotels and bars, children’s homes or areas of residential houses which are used for childcare activity or for schooling or tutoring.