Random drug and alcohol testing for PSV operators

Operators of public service and heavy-duty vehicles will be subjected to random drug testing under the amended road traffic legislation introduced in Parliament this morning, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley has announced.

At the same time, the minister said the much talked about breathalyzer testing would become a reality under the Road Traffic Amendment Act.

Leading debate on the Act, Lashley pointed to the 24 road deaths recorded here so far this year, blaming some of the serious accidents on drivers “using drugs or alcohol or some other substance”.

Therefore, he said, the Freundel Stuart administration was determined to rid the country of the “reckless and inconsiderate behaviour” of some drivers.

“We have decided that we want to bring into the Road Traffic Act the random alcohol and drug testing of any person who has been granted a driver’s licence for [an] articulated vehicle or a public service vehicle,” Lashley announced.

“There is, in the Road Traffic Act, an offence for driving under the influence . . . . We are saying that this amendment is absolutely necessary in promoting and protecting the travelling public, consisting of drivers, passengers and general road users, for the safety of persons who are using public service vehicles [and] articulated vehicles,” he said, while giving the assurance that there would be adequate training of police officers to ensure its full implementation.

Lashley said there were numerous instances of PSV operators , as well as some Transport Board drivers, “driving up and down with [alcoholic beverages] in their hand and sometimes stopping at the shop and buying two beers and coming back and driving.

“I am saying if you are serious about road safety . . . we must try to reach the ‘vision zero’ in our approach to road fatalities in this country, and accidents as a whole,” he said.

In announcing the introduction of the much talked about breathalyzer testing, the minister said that under the amended law members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) would have the power to request a breathalyzer test from individuals suspected of driving under the influence.

He explained that in the event of a serious accident or fatality as a result of a vehicular accident, lawmen also would have the power to request a urine and blood sample.

“Where an accident involving a motor vehicle on the road or any other public place resulting in serious injury or death, a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force in uniform, subject to section 85 [of the Act], shall require any person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle involved in the accident, to provide a specimen of blood or urine for a laboratory test,” Lashley said, adding that amended legislation outlines the specifics as it relates to alcohol and drug limit and types, and the power given to lawmen to arrest a person without a warrant if that individual refuses to comply.

“Not only it gives the police officer the power, but it also protects the individual too, because of course, the police officers have a duty to provide a written statement,” he added.

Stating that stakeholders were eager to see the breathalyzer testing implemented, he said the Ministry of Transport would continue its consultation with stakeholders.

Failure to comply could result in fines and imprisonment, which Lashley said should serve as a deterrent.

19 Responses to Random drug and alcohol testing for PSV operators

  1. Steve November 15, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Are you kidding me??!!! Do you know how many drivers will fail?? This is going to be good action if true… Hopefully before Christmas

    Reply
  2. archy perch November 15, 2017 at 3:47 am

    This one will be the real test of these laws. Are we going to kick ass or give slaps on the wrist. Are we going to impose the law tainted with the poor black man syndrome? PSV operators are a bunch of unruly rebels who rule supreme on our streets. This roaring tiger must be tamed and by all means necessary.

    Reply
  3. Saga Boy November 15, 2017 at 5:50 am

    This was a good time to address the problem of these fools driving PSVs who block and or slow down the traffic everyday on our highways. I like the random testing idea because it will make our roads more safe if it is consistently and fairly administered. At the moment a number of companies conduct random drug and alcohol tests and employees comply.

    Reply
  4. Freeagent November 15, 2017 at 6:36 am

    This law will reduce the sale of alcohol to these PSV workers who can be seen drinking throughout the day. These drivers also need to be fined for beeping their bus horns throughout their journey, including outside the QEH.

    Reply
  5. Sam Clarke November 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

    PLEASE DO IT FOR ALL PUBLIC SERVICE OPERATORS, INCLUDING THE TRANSPORT BOARD AS WELL. THIS IS A GREAT STEP IN CLEANING UP THIS UNRULY INDUSTRY.

    Reply
    • Belfast November 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      As well as ordinary Taxi drivers.

      Reply
  6. roger headley November 15, 2017 at 8:44 am

    With bated breath (no pun intended), I wait.

    Reply
  7. gsmiley November 15, 2017 at 9:01 am

    lol roger …. nice one

    Reply
  8. Sue Donym November 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

    We’re good at putting plaster on life sores. Why restrict random testing to PSV and articulated vehicle drivers? Anything to do with the fact that just about every official reception and celebration serves alcohol – meaning that the same lawmakers would get caught up in the drink and drive practice?

    Why pretend that we don’t see many people – old and young – who can’t wait to hit the favourite watering hole at the end of the work day or work week and boast about how their car knows its own way home when they ‘mash up’?

    Will the authorities bring the accident/fatality figures that will demonstrate why articulated vehicle drivers should be subject to random tests – or are we admitting that the speeders, abnormally slow drivers and wheelie poppers are obviously unimpaired and making sound driving decisions? And before we rejoice – will there be any limit to the frequency of the random tests or could a driver conceivably be stopped several times in a day and be mandated to undergo the tests?

    Reply
  9. Lee November 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Duh ! They should also be submitted to IQ and sensitivity tests every so often.

    Reply
  10. Helicopter(8P) November 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Reading this article takes me back to 1981 in the state of Kentucky where very serious and fatal automotive accidents occured. That year was my first introduction to the breath analizer. During that year as I remember the National speed limit was 55 mph but the populus had been accoustomed to a 75 mph speed limit; due to this many vehicular accidents were occurring across the USA.

    Reply
  11. Ryan Jones November 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I agree but the amendments to the Road Safety Act will cover under the influence of alcohol for all drivers if they are stopped and suspected to be under the influence. This is a big step forward and I am up for this but Barbados also have to start enforcing points on license and up to a certain amount the license will be revoked. A fine should accompany the points but also there should be courses for the general public they have to pay for if they are caught speeding to understand the danger not only to yourself but others on the roads.

    Reply
  12. Donild Trimp November 15, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Congrats to the Minister for introducing this long overdue legislation.

    Now lets get down to enforcement.

    Reply
  13. luther thorne November 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Congrats to the West Indies. Big Up Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith for theit feats in the match

    Reply
  14. clint November 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Which drug(s) will be tested for other than alcohol? Will marijuana be one? If so, will persons who identify as belonging to the Rastafarian faith or those who may be thought to be members of this faith by virtue of having locks be targeted? For alcohol, there is a level of alcohol that is acceptable; will there be an acceptable level of THC ? Will these new amendments to the Traffic Act necessitate legalizing an acceptable usage of marijuana?

    Reply
  15. jrsmith November 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Not only the PSV drivers , everybody should be tested at any time and every where , both blacks and whites………..wait and see…..

    Reply
  16. st clair worrell November 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Every year should be elections, I believe we would get so much done… Things that takes ten years would be done in months or even weeks… Politicians would be more involve in the day to day running of the country instead of every five or ten years…

    Reply
  17. Unknown November 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Now I think this is foolishness cause it going to affect the self employed persons. Not only that but at some shops a soft drink more expensive than alcohol. What I think is that the pot holes need more attention than trying to pass a law that gin affect shops and small business. What happened to all de unsolved rape cases murder cases and de under hand importation of drugs and guns. What happened to all the promises that never get full fill. Bunch of nonsense.

    Reply
  18. Helicopter(8P) November 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    jrsmith I would like to think that Barbadians are both black and white and least to forget Indian! It would be of great displeasure if not so, since I grew up with these folks as pals and friends. I should find in no way that the Royal Barbados Police are trained in racial profiling and if this police exists it would be originated by the Police Administration which is predominantly, if not entirely of the black race!

    Reply

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