Drive For Change

Designated drivers scheme launched

  • Bermuda Road Safety Council chairman Dennis Lister III (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Designated drivers will be rewarded with free soft drinks under a new Bermuda Road Safety Council programme to cut down on drink-driving.

Council chairman Dennis Lister III said the move would encourage people to go out and socialise, but make sure they had a driver to get them home safely.

The scheme was announced after bars and restaurants reported a downturn in business after the introduction of roadside breath test checkpoints in September.

Now the council will partner with bars, restaurants and other venues to recognise designated drivers when they enter.

Designated drivers will be given special badges with the council’s logo and “Designated Driver” printed on them, which will guarantee them at least one free soft drink per venue.

There will also be an award for the most reliable designated driver.

Mr Lister said: “Each time that you go out with your friends, keep a log of it. In January we will be recognising the most reliable designated driver.”

The Progressive Labour Party backbencher added that the scheme would help keep roads safe “while also being able to

enjoy ourselves”.

Mr Lister said: “Making our roads safer takes each one of us doing our part. Having a designated driver is doing your part.”

He added that many drink- drivers had been taken off the roads since checkpoints were launched.

However, he said: “We have heard complaints from restaurants and bars that they have seen a decline in patrons as a result of this.

“People are choosing to stay home instead of going out to socialise.

“We applaud this change in behaviour, while we also do not want to hurt venues that rely on the public for business.

“We have heard the cry and we know the dangers of drink-driving, so we are introducing a designated driver campaign.”

Mr Lister warned that the use of breath test checkpoints would increase over the Christmas period and that if revellers did not have a designated driver, they should book a taxi or arrange to be picked up by family or friends.

He added: “Plan your ride, ride your plan.”

Mr Lister encouraged people who organised parties over the festive season to contact the council to be a part of the initiative.

People can sign up for the designated driver’s programme at City Hall tomorrow, when the badges will be available from 1.30pm to 2pm.

Cada, the anti-substance abuse charity, will also play its part to promote safety on the roads over Christmas.

Anthony Santucci, Cada’s executive director, said the organisation would run its free late-night cab service from outside the LOM Building on Reid Street in Hamilton on Friday nights.

Dr Santucci added: “Please find the Cada representative and he will make sure he gets you and your friends into a cab to get you safely home.”

The cab service, called “Let Us Drive”, is sponsored by Bermuda-based drinks giant Bacardi, drinks supplier Burrows Lightbourn, rum firm Goslings and the Corporation of Hamilton.

Cabs will leave from outside LOM between 3.15am and 3.45am.

Dr Santucci said the service will also operate on New Year’s Eve with extra capacity.