Drive For Change

Police fixed on ending drink-driving culture

  • Harm reduction: Acting Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes

Roadside breath test checkpoints will be set up for the first time this weekend, the Bermuda Police Service have confirmed.

The checks will be used in Devonshire and Paget on Friday, Saturday and Sunday after a series of false starts since the legislation to allow them was passed in July.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes said that roadside breath test checkpoints were designed to cut down on deaths and injuries rather than “lock up hundreds of people”.

Mr Weekes said: “What we want to do is change the culture. It is about reducing harm, it is about reducing damage, it is about reducing insurance premiums because there will be fewer people drinking and driving and getting into accidents.

“It is all about harm reduction not about locking up as many people as we can.

“If we can get people to think twice about having that last glass of wine after dinner or that round of shots in the bar, that is what we are aiming at with roadside sobriety checks.”

Mr Weekes was speaking in a film posted on social media as the island prepared for the introduction of the checkpoints.

Mr Weekes said the public should use public transport, cabs or the Let Us Drive service run by anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, instead of drinking and driving.

People can also use a designated driver or the HomeSafeBermuda service where a hired driver will drive them home in their own car.

The Road Traffic (Roadside Sobriety Checkpoint) Amendment Act 2018 got Royal Assent in the summer.

Officers can now set up checkpoints to assess the sobriety of every driver or rider passing through and use a hand held breathalyser to check the level of alcohol in their systems.

Refusal to give a sample of breath without reasonable excuse is an offence and will result in a road ban and fine in line with the penalties for a test failure.

The film can be viewed at www.facebook.com/bermudapoliceservice/videos/2211582552412393/