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Don't drink and drive, the car does not know its way home

Monday December 24 2018

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Christmas season is always a time of joy, and also, more often than not, a time of death as well. People often say that the Lord gives, and the Lord taketh away, but sometimes, Kenyans lend too little power to agents of death themselves.

Just last week, there was that extremely unfortunate incident where a young woman hit and killed a jogger on Mbagathi Way, Nairobi. Two passengers in her car also died. The driver was rushed to hospital fighting for her life and she succumbed to her injuries.

The reason she lost control of the car has not been established. Social media, however, tried and sentenced her, assuming it was a case of drink-driving because of the late hour. Social media has been highly critical of this girl, and her family. Is it warranted? I mean... Yes, and no.

Families don't need aspersions cast on the character of someone they have just lost, right in the middle of grieving.

But if the drink-driving allegation is true, then people died because of a stupid decision by the young woman. This, though, isn't helpful at this time – even if it is true.

That aside, whether or not she was drunk, drink-driving is never a good idea, and not just because of your liver. You're not just messing yourself up – and I'm thinking about those poor girls who agreed to get into a car with their friend instead of taking a taxi. Alcohol is a tasking master – just because it doesn't catch up with you the one time, doesn't mean it won't eventually. The car knows its way home is a ridiculous thing to say, unless you're driving a Tesla.

Drink-driving, for all intents and purposes, is premeditated murder. It hurts you, it hurts others, and is so painfully pointless, precisely because it is so easily avoidable. There are multiple methods available to every drinker to not kill people. It isn't rocket science. Sharing alcoblow locations is on the same side as this – aiding and abetting what will eventually give room for even more irresponsible behaviour. Responsibility is the difference between life and death.

I have always supported the idea of alcoblow, but for some reason, people aren't deterred even by these large fines. Why do people drink so much, though? That might be a deeper social problem we need to address in the long term – why we are so eager to test our livers and our luck to the absolute limit.

Perhaps also in the long-term, the government needs to put measures in place that mark permanent records for people with DUIs (Driving under the influence of alcohol). And if that sounds like a reach, let's just start doing what a lady at a club did last week – clamp your friend's car so that they can't leave the club, and give them the invoice in the morning.