Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cameroon bans night travel because of drink driving epidemic

Cameroon has banned all night-time public transport on roads to curb accidents caused by heavy drinking, the transport ministry says.

About 12,000 people died in road accidents last year, the ministry said.

The decision has been strongly criticised by many Cameroonians, who say it will affect their businesses and nightlife.

The ban means that buses and taxis must be off roads from 2000 GMT to 0400 GMT.

The ministry said night travel accounted for 35% of accidents, even though few people commuted at night.

The accidents were caused mainly by heavy drinking, it said.

About 12,000 people died last year in road accidents in Cameroon and another 12,000 were wounded, the ministry said.

The BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah in the capital, Yaounde, says that while many people welcome moves to reduce fatalities, they believe poor roads are the main cause of accidents.

Only about 20% of Cameroon's roads are tarred, he says.

Many people are not sure how they will travel to and from work because some journeys last more than six hours, our reporter says. (read more)