Police yourself

Roland Bowen suggests ways of dealing with reckless PSV driving

A top cop is strongly advising passengers to police themselves when riding on privately owned Public Service Vehicles (PSVs).

At the same time, the President of the Barbados Road Safety Association, Charmaine Roland-Bowen, is calling on authorities to permanently put reckless drivers off the road and out of the system.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Eucklyn Thompson and Roland-Bowen were both speaking to the media about bad driving on the roads by PSVs, following the launch this morning of the Sagicor Drivepal system which monitors driving habits.

Today inspectors were busy carrying out checks on PSV operators.
Today inspectors were busy carrying out checks on PSV operators.

While there has been a noticeable increase in the number of PSV accidents, as recent as Tuesday when a ZR making its way into the Nursery Drive van stand, turned over, leaving several passengers injured and 14-year-old Springer Memorial student Zakiyah Defreitas hospitalized in serious condition.

As he condemned the activity, Thompson remarked that Barbados was exhibiting a culture of indiscipline where even mature people who should know better, were travelling on PSVs where operators were driving dangerously and breaking traffic laws.

He said just few months ago, he had visited the River Road van stand where he observed the behaviour of commuters and PSV operators.

He said police officers were traditionally stationed in that area but the force could possibly look at the increasing the level of traffic management at that location. However, he stressed that it was necessary for commuters to start learning to police themselves.

“If people learn to police themselves, that would lead to good order and discipline,” the senior cop said.  “I am not saying there would not be a need for us to be present, but what we will be observing is people being orderly and vehicles being driven prudently to and fro in the van stand instead of this rush left right and centre to get commuters.”

Meanwhile, noting that the situation on the island’s roads was getting worse, Roland-Bowen who has been a consistent advocate for safe driving over the years, said getting PSV operators with poor driving records off the road, should be treated as a matter of urgency.

“When I say get them out, I don’t mean get them out of the system or get them out of the minibus and let them go to the Transport Board, because that is what they have been doing. I mean get off the road and find something else to do. We need to send a strong message and stand by what we say,” she said.

Speaking passionately, the Barbados Road Safety Association president continued: “That young lady was injured. We don’t want to wait until it is a fatality for them [authorities] to do something. They know what they have to do.

“We have to stop letting these drivers of these public service vehicles control the roads and authorities. We have to take a stand and let them know the consequences of their actions and create penalties,” she added.

Roland-Bowen said her association had tried relentlessly, but without success, to get authorities to set better standards for persons who drive PSVs. She suggested that training was one way of driving home to reckless drivers the point that they are carrying human cargo.

On that note, she called for a National Vocational Qualification for carrying passengers to be introduced to upgrade and enhance driving capabilities. “It is not just passing a driving test and getting a license. You have people’s lives to look after and should have a structured form of advanced training. When they are given their license, they should be continuously monitored,” she said. anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

8 Responses to Police yourself

  1. Maria Leclair
    Maria Leclair June 12, 2015 at 2:03 am

    The responsibility is not only the publics but also the police forces, to set up speed traps throughout the island to hand out spending tickets. All those who are speeding regardless to who they are and what they drive should get speeding tickets. Speeding fines can be a good cash cow for BIM until people get the message and if they don’t get the message, more money for the trough.

    • Maria Leclair
      Maria Leclair June 12, 2015 at 3:12 am

      I wouldn’t have to, I do not condone speeding unless it was a life and death situation.

  2. ken June 12, 2015 at 6:30 am

    With the amount of police officers owning or associating themselves with these PSV’s and road races I don’t know how recklessness on the road will ever be controlled. I have seen police making traffic stops and attempting to report an infraction by a PSV and the driver blatantly tells the officer where to “get off” while telling him a senior officer owns the bus he is driving so the report is not going to “stick”. Just yesterday, in the wake of this tragic incident, I saw a ZR stop in the middle of the road away from any bus stops just to let off a passenger while other ZR drivers overtake him… on the inside. Could you imaging? There is a blatant disregard for the law and a contributing factor is the sense of protection these operators have while plying their routes. We could talk chalk but unless these issues are dealt with at the root then the problem will continue.

  3. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte June 12, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Speed is one of the issues here. There is a speed limit for PSVs and heavy duty vehicles which many ignore. Many ignore the fact that these vehicle have special regulations for how they should operate.

    Wait til wanna DEAD and then speak out.

  4. Justice For all June 12, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Transport Board drivers talk on the phone while driving the bus and they also drive very fast. Especially the one who drive the ABC Highway bus and the Speightstown routes. I think all transportation drivers should be scrutinized and take the advance driving qualifications.

  5. Alec Pierre June 12, 2015 at 8:12 am

    The PSV operators are carrying ‘human beings’ not ‘human cargo’. Otherwise, a very good article

  6. Patrick Blackman June 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    It is your job Mr. Police man, do it.

  7. jrsmith June 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Senior police officers, politicians , bankers , educators , preachers, some businessmen, when ever they open they mouths its always controversy. All bad management.
    @,Patrick, hail, on the spot as always.


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