PRESS RELEASE – Alcohol consumption is on the radar as one of the leading contributors to road accidents in Saint Lucia.
Over the last few months, the Ministry of Health has recorded an increase in vehicular accidents leading to severe injuries and death on the island’s roads. Despite an increase in public awareness, drinking and driving continues.
When alcohol is consumed, many of the skills that safe driving requires, such as judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity and reaction time all become impaired.
“Alcohol intake is a recipe for disaster,” Minister for Health, Mary Isaac, said while addressing a gathering in Vieux Fort last week. She said that while accidents may occur due to human error, she believes alcohol consumption is one of the major contributors, not only to accidents but to non-communicable diseases.
“Alcohol consumption is a horrible problem in our society. We hear about the road accidents and the majority of these accidents involve alcohol consumption. They involve drinking alcohol, and sometimes the people do not associate their accident (with this) because it is taking place in the middle of the day.
“But let me tell you something — when you have a night of drinking, a night of heavy drinking, that alcohol stays in your system the whole day and it is working itself out. You go behind the wheel and that is just a weapon of destruction with that mix of alcohol.
“So there are people who say, ‘Well, I drink at nights, I drink when I get home.’ That alcohol is in your system and it impairs your judgement when you go out there and drive. So a lot of these accidents taking place in the day, they are still alcohol-related and, again, that is another contributor to diabetes. So we have a lot of work to do. Don’t feel bad when you have to tell somebody don’t take that drink; they may tell you bad things but at least you tried.”
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol is a serious crime. The Minister expressed her deepest condolences to the families who have lost their love ones in recent times and is pleading with citizens to be responsible, refrain from substance abuse, and practice safe driving. She said alcohol intake can be dangerous and potentially lethal.