Alcoblow not a panacea

Monday December 16 2013

Members of the public at an accident scene on

Members of the public at an accident scene on 14th December 2013, where a bus and a truck collided at Mariakani in Kilifi County. Four people including the driver of the truck died on the spot while 8 others were seriously injured, and 28 others received minor injuries. PHOTO: Kevin Odit/NATION 

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If the police persist on rehashing past attempts at curbing road carnage without seeking to understand why similar attempts failed in the past, then the effort will be futile.

Yesterday, the re-introduction of breathalysers to help the police deal with road deaths due to drunk driving was announced.

Driving under the influence is recognised the world over as one of the worst killers on the road, and in developed countries, it attracts jail terms.

But it is not the only reason why Kenyans are killing themselves with such abandon. Speeding, fatigue, lack of driving skills and impunity due to corruption are the others, and they must be tackled in a holistic fashion to become effective.

The breathalyser, popularly known by the lead brand Alcoblow, was first introduced two years ago, but it failed because it was mostly used by police to demand bribes.

We expect that used together with the other measures mooted last month like new licences, it will help—but only if it is not used exclusively outside bars by rent-seeking rogue policemen.