Czech police will be out in force over the Easter holidays, monitoring traffic on the country’s major highways but also minor roads. The aim is prevent drinking and driving over a period when tragic road accidents, sadly, have only gone up.
According to statistics, alcohol during the Easter holidays usually plays a factor in around 12 or 13 percent of traffic accidents – a jump from the annual average of five. Last Easter was particularly tragic and this year the police, together with BESIP, the Transport Ministry’s Department of Road Safety, are hoping to prevent similarly grim statistics and will be out in force. Major highways and major roads will see an increased presence but officials say some minor or side roads will also be monitored, so anyone thinking about having a drink over the holidays, as part of the festivities or otherwise, and then getting in their car, should think twice. BESIP’s Martin Farář told Czech Radio there was good reason for the initiative:
“The number of accidents over the holiday period is sadly worse and worse: last Easter we saw a huge jump when 14 people died on Czech roads. Of those, five deaths were related to drink driving… Holidays in general are critical: Easter, Christmas, the start of the summer holidays, when people head home from the discotheque... This Easter I would like to ask those on the road to be extra careful, pedestrians included.”
The holiday initiative means that motorists who are stopped by the police will be asked to take a breathalyser. Provided no alcohol is registered, they will then be eligible for a free present. BESIP’s Martin Farář explains:
“First there will be a classic police control where drivers who are stopped will be asked to take a breathalyzer. If they test negative, they will then be handed off to a BESIP coordinator who will explain the reason for the initiative. They will then offer the driver a free bottle of non-alcoholic beer and a one-off disposable breathalyser they can use themselves anytime they are unsure if they can safely drive.”
Heightened police controls over the holidays will be countrywide – meaning all 14 of the country’s regions will be affected. The message to take away? Don’t drink and drive.
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