Kenya Breweries Ltd has partnered with a local company to offer chauffeur services to cut down on accidents related to drunk driving ahead of the festive season.

Patrons can now imbibe alcohol to their satisfaction and be driven home if they are subscribers to the Smart Fella chauffeur services for as low as Sh200 per kilometer. The partnership, KBL said, had enabled lower pricing than conventional taxis.

The partnership comes as the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) warned drivers against drinking and driving this Christmas. “We are planning a major campaign over Christmas. So, if you are planning to drink and drive be also prepared to spend the night in a police cell. We’d rather you spend it in the cell than in a hospital,” said NTSA chairman, Mr Lee Kinyanjui.

KBL Corporate Relations Director Eric Kiniti said that despite increased awareness on drunk-driving dangers, it had proven difficult to change the behaviour of Kenyans.  “It remains in our interest as players in the industry to try and still find solutions to the problem,” said Mr Kiniti.

The NTSA chairman challenged pub owners to take a more proactive role in the campaign against drunk driving. “What happens in some countries is that if the bartender assess and finds that you are too drunk to be driving, he or she either calls a cab for you or if you insist on driving, calls the police,” he said.

One of the long-term solutions to drunk driving that the NTSA is working on, Mr Kinyanjui said, is the provision of reliable and safe transport systems to cut down on the temptation by beer lovers to use their cars. “Even among our taxi operators it is evident that they are not well organised and that is why an initiative such as this chauffeur service is a step in the right direction,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

The World Health Organisation estimates that between 3,000- 13,000 people die on Kenyan roads annually. Mr Kinyanjui said the introduction of Alco-Blow and speed guns on Kenyan roads had helped curb road accidents. “Presently, we have achieved an 11% reduction in drunk driving attributable road accidents compared to a similar time last year, but our target is much higher,” he said.

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