See the following statement issued on Tuesday, May 17, by the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG) on the issue of drunk driving:
The Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG) is calling for action to end the epidemic of road traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers.
“Too many lives are being wasted and shattered. Driving under the influence causes premature deaths, and it also has devastating effects on survivors and their families due to permanent disabilities, mental health issues, and loss of productivity leading to financial strain.
The drunk driving plague must be addressed.
We call on Guyanese authorities to enforce laws.
Our roads should not be killing grounds. Actively combat the problem by enforcing blood alcohol content laws, setting up sobriety checkpoints, and requiring mandatory alcohol abuse classes for offenders.
Let them hear from the first responders who pick up the pieces and from the medical staff that try to put the pieces back together and from the families whose lives have been ruined.
Provide incentives for alcohol-serving establishments to ensure that patrons do not drive drunk from their premises. In addition, regularly distribute pamphlets to educate the public so that they understand that alcohol diminishes and impairs judgement, depth perception, and vital motor skills required to drive safely.
We call on Guyanese society to adjust its mindset and change its culture.
Modern roadways are filled with vehicles that weigh tons, making it more critical for drivers to act responsibly. As a society, let us spread awareness and let us encourage ourselves and others to act responsibly.
The decision begins with individuals. Choose not to drink and drive. Make the decision before you begin drinking and before you become impaired from the alcohol.
Arrange to have a designated sober driver, either someone you know personally or a trusted taxi service (cost could be shared by multiple people in your party). It’s a choice that could save innocent lives and avoid unimaginable suffering.
Do not drink and drive. Do not let your loved ones drink and drive. Do not let your friends drink and drive. This is not always easy to achieve. It might require you to get out of bed at 2 am to pick up a family member or friend.
It might require you to take the vehicle key away from a person whom you normally admire and respect and who is assuring you that they’re “fine.” It may feel disrespectful to override the assurances that they are “okay to drive,” but remember that their judgement is impaired. The goal is for everyone to get home safely and wake up to another day without regret.
In conclusion, let us live the motto — IF YOU ARE DRINKING, DO NOT DRIVE – no exceptions. It is common sense and it is the right thing to do.