Research revealed that approximately half of the people that die on our roads had a blood alcohol level above 0.05 g/100ml. Then emergency workers still ask why people get behind the steering wheel of their vehicle if the National Road Traffic Act Sections 122, 126 and 149 explicitly states that no one is allowed to operate a vehicle or occupy the driver’s seat of the said vehicle whilst intoxicated.
Every year ER24 along with Arrive Alive and other campaigns try to make the public aware of the dangers, but again it seems that certain drivers do not adhere to our laws when it comes to Driving Under the Influence. It is not uncommon for paramedics to arrive at the scene of an accident and find more empty liquor bottles in the car than patients, and most of the times the patients or other occupants of the vehicle appears extremely intoxicated.
As emergency workers we cannot judge patients that are allegedly under the influence, we still have to treat them exactly the same as a sober patient with the same injuries. However, it does come to mind that this collision could most probably have been avoided if alcohol was not a passenger.
There a numerous studies that indicate when a person is under the influence of liquor, his or her abilities to have full control over a vehicle are significantly affected. It is also not uncommon for paramedics to receive verbal and sometimes even physical abuse from drunk drivers on the scene of an accident.
It is often mentioned that drunk drivers are dangerous; however drunken passengers can also be as dangerous and even distract the driver’s attention whilst driving.
Again paramedics urge commuters to stay clear from any intoxicating substance whilst on the road. Accidents are a reality and it could happen to anyone at any time and driving under the influence just increase your chance so much more.
We have heard so many times from patients that they say “I can handle my liqour” or “I only had two or three beers”. One should realise that alcohol affects each person differently and therefore the risks are so much higher.