Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN)
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Government Thursday approved the use of breathalyser, a device to determine the quantity of alcohol a motorist consumed. It said the move was one of the measures to check excessive consumption of alcohol by drivers and stem the cases of road accidents across all parts of the state.
Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) introduced the device at Iyana-Ipaja area of the state during the ongoing motor park health safety screening exercise, currently being carried out to sensitise drivers on the risk of excessive alcohol consumption.
Fashola, who addressed the commercial bus drivers along with Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said he had an onus “to protect lives of people in the state even if the person decides to commit suicide.”
The governor therefore explained that the use of breathalyzers became necessary due to the increasing rate of accidents caused by drunk and drug driving by motorists in the state and that after the ongoing sensitisation exercise law enforcement officials would administer breathalyzer on the motorists.
According to him, this is the season we are going on pilgrimages in Mecca and Jerusalem. How would we feel when if you board a plane going to Jerusalem or Mecca and the pilot had already drunk one carton of Guinness and spiced it with a generous dose of Indian hemp; will you board the plane?
Although that was an air transport, the governor observed that the case of road transportation should be different. This is why one of the initiatives of the new road traffic law is that it empowers the state government now to conduct mandatory breathalyzer test through the objective use of the machines.
“These are breathalyzers. For those of you who have been to Europe and other parts of the world you will see it. We have brought it home in order to sanitize our society and to save our citizens from unnecessary and avoidable deaths,” he explained.
He said he was not against anyone drinking alcohol, but the law did not allow drinking while driving or picking calls while on the wheels, saying such habit could cause distractions that could cause serious accident on the road.