Good move!

BRSA hails new road traffic legislation

The Barbados Road Safety Association (BSA) has welcomed the Road Traffic Amendment Act introduced in Parliament this morning by Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley.

The BRSA has often taken strong jabs at Lashley over delays in introducing the legislation, which had been over four years in the making, with its president Sharmane Roland-Bowen describing as “false promises”, an announcement by the minister in March that the measure would go before Parliament by June.

Among the road safety advocacy group’s longstanding demands were the introduction of breathalyzer tests to cut down on drink driving, and tougher measures for drivers found culpable for road fatalities.

The BRSA got its wish today as Lashley, who was complimentary of the association, told his parliamentary colleagues that the highly anticipated breathalyzer testing would be introduced and that training of lawmen and ongoing consultation with stakeholders would be necessary.

He also revealed that  public service vehicle (PSV) operators and drivers of heavy-duty vehicles would be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing.

Reacting to the news this afternoon Roland-Bowen told Barbados TODAY she was over the moon because of the anticipated positive impact of the legislation, although she expressed concern that it could face some resistance.

“We at the Barbados Road Safety Association are elated that this piece of legislation has finally come to Parliament. We are hoping however, that it would meet no resistance from any person. This is a piece of legislation that will help to reduce collisions and deaths on our roads tremendously,” she said.

However, Roland-Bowen said the provision for random testing of PSV operators and drivers of heavy-duty vehicles should be extended to include every driver.

“We would like to go a step further where any individual at all can be stopped and inspected once the police officer has a reason to do that, or targeted breathalyzer testing. It is more of a deterrent. But yes, [we] still accept what they intend to do with the PSV because these persons have a greater responsibility because they have the lives of their passengers [in their hands] at all time,” she said.

The amended law gives trained police officers in uniform the power to carry out the breathalyzer testing and to request blood and urine samples in the case of serious or fatal road accidents.

It was in August of this year that Roland-Bowen had said she had it up to her neck with “false promises” by Lashley to introduce the long awaited revised law, as she called on the minister to make the legislation a reality before year-end.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY in the wake of the 17th road fatality for this year, the road safety advocate had said she was upset that Lashley had not delivered on the legislations which he first announced in 2013, yet he continued to refer to it as a means of easing public anxiety over rising road deaths. Seven more people have died in road accidents since.

“Mr Lashley is a politician and as a politician he is doing his job very well, which is to make promises and fool the public. They say what the public wants to hear to keep them quiet about the things that are going on around them. That’s all it is, empty promises. And we are fed up of empty promises,” Roland-Bowen said at the time.

However, today she said the amendment showed that the lives of citizens were valued, while calling for enforcement of the law to take effect before next year, when the focus will be on the general election.

“For me it is an overall win-win for all persons, the guilty and the innocent. We don’t want this legislation, after waiting so long, to go over to next year because we know next year with the elections we fear that it would get put in the latter part of the year. So we would really like to see it pushed and we would like no objection from anyone,” she said, while going on to state that she would feel better about the Act when the police officers begin training.   

“We would feel a little better when we hear that the police have commenced training . . . . When they get to that stage we will know that they really mean business and we are closer to get the desired safety legislation in place. We are thankful it has gotten this far. It was a long struggle, and I always say we were going to get there. We never intended to give up,” she said.

10 Responses to Good move!

  1. Wendel Walkes
    Wendel Walkes November 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    them better introduce the Road Repair Act

  2. archy perch November 15, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Hip Hip Horah ! The authorities are finally doing something to control the lawlessness on our roadways. Now comes the hard part…ENFORCEMENT. Personally, I think we should have gone further and setup a real Highway Patrol Unit which is much needed in Barbados with the vehicles, motor bikes et al using the roads. I even see bicycles with motors attached. A Highway Patrol Unit will pay for itself through fines collected. We also need to impound the vehicles of people who do not pay parking tickets etc as is done in NYC I am told. We need to slap the BOOT on wheels about town for breaching the traffic laws. Zero tolerance for tailgating and the banning of the use of four lights at the front of all vehicles on our roads. Two headlights have always done the job before, now alot of vehicles seem to have fog lights turned on and other strong lights blinding on-coming drivers like myself. But the vehicles come down with fog lights. Yes, but they should be either disconnected by the manufacturer or there should be a fine for their use in well lit areas.Safety on our roadways is paramount and there should be no compromise. Vehicles are weapons. Some drivers are idiots.

  3. hcalndre November 15, 2017 at 4:49 am

    Keep up the fight MS. Roland-Bowen and also keep planting the the pot-hole flags. A caller and the CBC host on tuesday`s program want to have you put in jail for notifying the motorist where the potholes are, I thought they would be more concern about the danger and expense that the potholes would be to the motorists. Bajans are so docile and obedient that they are like stool pigeons, in a democracy, its something called Civil Disobedience and people use it to draw attention to their cause but in barbados some believe that its a crime punishable by execution, its only a misdemeanor.

  4. Tony Webster November 15, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Can’t praise this fearless, articulate lady too much for her pro-bono work. As for her “partner” in the pix….suggest he get into the business of selling car-parts. Hmmm….mebbe…he was in dat …all the time? Dunno, but these hazy, dispsy-doodling dayz….”anything goes”!!

  5. Sue Donym November 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    “We would like no objection from anyone”, “hoping that it would meet no resistance from anyone” Mrs. Roland-Bowen is quoted as saying. Guessing that the Road Safety Assoc. is satisfied that the legislation covers the offences and penalties as well as preserving the rights of road users. Alrighty then!

  6. Helicopter (8P) November 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    The Honorable Minister went to sleep last night with a very pleasant disposition and will be sleeping a whole lot cumfy during the Independence and Christmas seasons by living with and giving the Eight Beatitudes some play.

  7. Donild Trimp November 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    @Sue Donym
    You are a real bleeding heart liberal.

    “Preserving the rights of road users” my backside !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At last something is being done about the lawlessness on the roads of Barbados.

    Good job Minister Lashley and Sharmane.

    Long overdue.

    • Sue Donym November 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      @Donild Trimp preserving rights might one day seem relevant when it is indeed your backside on the line. I am not of the view that doing *anything* is better than hurried provisions that could have benefited from some robust public interaction

  8. jrsmith November 15, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    love the idea at last something is been talked about to be done , but would what ever laws they are would be equally enforced not on the only the black bajans………………………………….

  9. Belfast November 16, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Don’t hold your breath! The previous Road Traffic Act and the Road Traffic Regulation contained a whole host of rules and regulations that for the most part, were never enforced by the authorities, whether the Police, Licensing Authority, MTW or the Insurance Companies.
    As a result, we now find ourselves in a position of near anarchy on our highways, hence the recent big stick lick and lockup amendments.


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