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Be safe, stay safe; shun drink-driving this festive season

Wednesday December 02 2020
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The holiday season is here again. The end of the year comes with joy for most, highs and lows for some, but ultimately, providing relief for all, a breather and a quest for a much-sought-after moment of rest whose result is expected to provide a second wind as we look forward to the coming year with the usual high expectations.

This year will not be different. People will relish the season in different ways but East Africans, being as we are, will soon be making frantic preps to travel upcountry with families, friends and relatives to make the best of the season.

It’s a customary trait that makes the festive season even more exciting!

Some will use public transport, others in private vehicles while others, whose destinations are within the vicinity of the towns, will use motorcycles (bodabodas), bicycles and even walk – all destined for the great celebrations with their loved ones.

And therein lies the catch. Many of us tend to overdo it, over-indulging in these celebrations. We sometimes throw caution to the wind and enjoy with abandon, totally oblivious of the fact that this could be dangerous in the long run. As we make merry, some of us will sometimes imbibe more than their share. This, if unchecked, could be detrimental, more so to the users of the roads particularly drivers, riders, pedestrians and the general public.

Aware of the dangers that the said revelers are exposing themselves to, the government, road safety patrons and other stakeholders have often chipped in to help stem the impeding tide of excessive alcohol consumption that could lead to serious road crashes which could result in serious injuries and even fatal consequences.

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Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) is among those organisations that have been mindful of safety on our roads. In collaboration with the government and other road safety interested parties, SBL has, for many years now, been drumming up the need for sobriety on our roads, creating awareness to thousands of drivers, motorcyclists and the general public on the need to follow traffic rules for not only one’s personal safety but for the safety of others.

In an endeavour to instill rationality on our audience’s consciousness, SBL pioneered the ‘Don’t drink and Drive’ mantra, an initiative that the company uses as the cog that rolls the wheel of its campaign. A crusade that has so far covered many regions countrywide.

The ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ initiative seeks to remind all consumers of alcoholic beverages to drink responsibly. The campaign is conducted at various platforms including public commuter transport stations, bodaboda stands and bar activations. It involves distribution of leaflets and moderation drinking knowledge is disseminated through mainstream and online media outlets. These events are conducted throughout the year but with extra emphasis on the festive season, a time when most road accidents, some caused by drink-driving, are reported.

As an alcoholics beverages company, SBL is committed not just to the safety of its employees and assets but also to the wider community in which its business is part and parcel. It is for this reason that the company extols the need for consuming alcohol responsibly, particularly during the festive seasons like the one we are anticipating ahead. SBL implores drivers to strictly avoid driving when under the influence of alcohol.

From a casual viewpoint and more so from a business perspective, it might seem odd, even ironical, for an alcohol producer to lobby for moderate drinking. On the contrary though, SBL believes that alcohol consumption can be a part of a balanced lifestyle. The company urges people to drink better, not more, knowing very well that it is for the common good of the society that it should promote moderate drinking and tackle alcohol misuse.

For those of us who choose to drink, we should be aware that responsible drinking means more than just limiting yourself to a certain number of drinks. It also means not getting drunk and not letting alcohol control your life or your relationships. It is quite risky to the life of a driver, passengers on board and other road users to drive while under alcohol influence. That’s why SBL’s ‘Don’t Drink and Drive campaign is a clear clarion call for all of us to refrain from driving when drunk.

As I conclude, I wish you all a joyous festive season ahead. May I remind you that we are all duty bound to remind ourselves and our drinking mates to enjoy responsibly and remain safe as we celebrate with friends and families.

I wish you all a cheerful festive season and a prosperous New Year 2021. May you find endless sweetness this holiday season and embrace the endless love that surrounds you!

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Mark Ocitti is the Managing Director of Serengeti Breweries Limited