The Ministry of Health has recommended immediate reintroduction of use of breathalyzers during traffic and road safety operations to curb drunk driving as a measure to reduce road accidents.
The use of breathalyzers to the level of alcohol consumption on motorists was suspended by the ministry of health way back in 2020 for fear of spreading COVID-19 in the process.
According to the ministry of health, the decision comes after detailed discussions between Uganda’s Ministry of Works & transport, Uganda Police Force and Uganda National Roads Authority regarding use of breathlyzers to reduce road traffic accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol among others.
In a statement dated 11th August 2023, MOH director of medical services Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the move is meant to countermeasure a spike in deaths due to road accidents involving drunk drivers ever since the tests were suspended.
“It is sad to note that since then, Uganda has registered an increase in road traffic accidents with 40 percent being fatal. Drunk driving affects all road users including children, pedestrians and other drivers who are not drunk” Dr. Mwebesa stated.
“Following the significant reduction of COVID-19 cases, MOH has evaluated the risk of contracting the coronavirus through breathalyzers and found it to be negligible.” He adds.
Besides, Mwebesa say Police has confirmed that each client will use a separate, sealed and disposable tube to blow through the breathalyzer.
The statement also reiterates the fact that Ugandans are the leading consumers of alcohol on the African continent and many individuals drive under the influence of alcohol.