Alcohol gets creative juices flowing fast

The festive period is upon us again when we all have to wear fake smiles and hug each other saying "compliments of the season" without really meaning it.

The festive period is upon us again when we all have to wear fake smiles and hug each other saying "compliments of the season" without really meaning it.

This period is also known as the silly season because we spend, spend and spend, as if the end of the year means the end of the world is nigh.

But it is a recent article in Sunday Times, Sowetan's sister paper, that tickled my fancy.

The story aptly said excuses that drunk drivers give traffic police were getting whackier by the day this festive season.

It said traffic authorities, who have been kept busy on the roads, say offenders, who include priests and prosecutors, have come up with creative excuses for driving under the influence of alcohol or speeding.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Zinhle Mngomezulu, a provincial transport spokesman, said the most common excuse for drunken driving was that the driver had a relationship problem and decided to patch it up over drinks or that someone had died in the family and the driver needed to drown his or her sorrows.

"We recently caught a priest for the second time who was four times over the legal limit. His excuse was that he was consoling himself after catching his wife having an extra-marital relationship."

The report also quotes Makhaya Mani, a Western Cape community safety spokesman, as saying the most common excuse from motorists as they try to talk their way out of trouble was that they had been attending their year-end party.

Edna Mamonyane, Johannesburg Metro Police spokesman, said: "The most bizarre excuse they give is to deny drinking but say they have taken cough medicine which contained alcohol. You can see clearly that the person is drunk."

On Monday, said the report, Zululand chief public prosecutor Philile Sibeko appeared in the Richards Bay magistrate's court after trying to outrun traffic police.

She reportedly nearly crashed into a patrol van and then fled on foot, falling and skinning her knees and elbows when officers caught up with her.

"The prosecutor, who has not been suspended, appeared in court on Monday on four charges, including resisting arrest, refusing to take a breathalyser and blood test, reckless driving and refusing to give personal particulars."

Obviously, drunken driving is no laughing matter as often life and limb are lost.

But, really, many of the excuses simply take the cake, and I reckon the harried traffic officers have a rough ride trying to be straight-faced.

Okay, popular DJ Sbu was not caught driving drunk after clocking a record 257km/h.

After earning himself the title of South Africa's fastest speedster off a race track, he said the Audi TT sports sedan he was driving was so comfortable he was not even aware he was speeding. Aikona!

This reminded me of a young man a few years ago who raced his Porsche so hard from Bloemfontein with the huffing-and-puffing traffic police only catching up with him in Pretoria.

"I wanted to suss it out," he told the officers calmly before pocketing his hefty ticket and speeding back to the Free State.

What about the little chap who arrived late for school?

"Don't blame me, ma'm, it's the traffic sign. It said 'slow, school ahead'." Yo!