‘Vision zero’

Govt responds to recent road deaths

Road users here face serious penalties that include hefty fines and imprisonment, if they breach tough, new measures in the Barbados Road Traffic Amendment Act introduced in Parliament this morning by Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley.

Outlining a range of changes to the current legislation, including the much touted breathalyzer testing, Lashley told his parliamentary colleagues the amendments, come against the backdrop of an increase in crimes involving the use of unregistered vehicles and those with “fake licence plates”, as well as littering and serious and fatal road accidents.

In a presentation sprinkled with praise for the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) and other stakeholders, the transport minister said the new law, which had been in the making for over four years, was inclusive and was in keeping with a new vision of the ruling Democratic Labour Party regarding traffic accidents and road fatalities.

Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley (right) shakes hands with former transport minister Johnny Tudor (centre) in the presence of Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy outside Parliament this morning.

“The invite is that we must look to adopt a ‘vision zero’ approach with respect to road fatalities in Barbados. This ‘vision zero’ policy is a framework for implementation [of] road safety policies seeking to lower fatalities and serious injuries as a result of accidents on our roadways,” Lashley said.

The amended legislation makes provision for standardizing licence plates and for addressing the issue of abandoned vehicles. It also makes it an offence for drivers to park in spots reserved for the disabled.

Explaining that there were steps that the chief technical officer must take to deal with the matter of abandoned vehicles, Lashley said: “We place in this provision the imposition of fees, the disposal of abandoned vehicles and the steps to be taken by owners of abandoned vehicles to recover those vehicles.”

The introduction of breathalyzer testing to tackle drunk driving is sure to please the BRSA, which has been advocating for such a measure, as well as tougher penalties for motorists responsible for road fatalities, to increase road safety.

Seemingly fed up with the many delays, BRSA President Sharmane Roland-Bowen in March dismissed as “false promises”, an announcement by Lashley then that the improved road traffic legislation would go before Parliament by June of this year.

In his presentation today, Lashley said the measure would make provision for lawmen to request a breathalyzer test once there is justifiable cause, explaining that anyone who refuses to take such a test or to provide a blood or urine sample in the case of a serious or fatal accident would be fined or face imprisonment.

In addition, he said drivers who park in designated spots for the disabled would face a $500 fine.

“I am saying that all of these issues we dealt with, we discussed them with the stakeholders and they are on board with us. What we are seeking to do is not only promote road safety, but we are seeking also to have standards [and] regulating of traffic. That is what we are doing,” he explained.

Though not going into detail, the minister said the Act would also make provision for better registration and monitoring of all-terrain and heavily tinted vehicles, and would provide a level of protection for workers carrying out cleaning or construction activity along the roadways.

Pointing out that the revamped Act also gives the Chief Licensing Officer and the Licensing Authority more power, Lashley explained that the Government agency could refuse to issue, renew or replace a permit, licence or registration of a vehicle where the payment has been made “by means of a dishonoured cheque” or where the individual has fees outstanding.

The law also addresses the vexing issue of littering, making provision for fines of up to $200 or imprisonment of up to three months for both the driver and the person caught littering.

During this morning’s presentation little was said about how the changes would be enforced. However, Lashley pledged that Government would work closely with stakeholders to uphold the law, and that lawmen and other relevant stakeholders would receive the requisite training.

Earlier this year Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite had dismissed calls for tougher legislation to curb the number of fatal road accidents here, arguing that new laws would not stop road deaths.

Brathwaite said then the issue was “not just a legislative issue because from what I am being told it is mostly recklessness”.

He had also suggested that more could be done to educate young drivers about the dangers of reckless driving, while placing some of the responsibility on the shoulders of local motorsport associations, saying there was a worrying trend of young drivers speeding after attending motorsport events at Bushy Park, St Philip.


20 Responses to ‘Vision zero’

  1. luther thorne November 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Kudos to Minister Sealy for his mode of dress unlike the others.

  2. Steve November 15, 2017 at 1:21 am

    stand up 1/2 mile from a fete and breathalyze when people going home and you will be shocked with the findings guaranteed .

  3. Tony Webster November 15, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Amazing! Green shoots popping-up everywhere.
    Questshun is…who is gonna get shot and just pop-off…home?

  4. archy perch November 15, 2017 at 6:20 am

    For your information Luther Thorne. The late greatest Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon Errol Barrow wore the same attire as is MP Richard Sealy.
    The Hon Brandford Taitt did the same, and so too did the now acting GG, Philip Greaves.
    The so-called shirt jack suit you see was preferred by most because of the hot tropical climate we live in.
    Add this to your common sense lesson for today Luther Thorne.
    Now please pass back my spoon, it came from my sterling silver collection.

    • Ernesta Catlyn November 15, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Stuck in rut Archy, I think he means the others in the picture

    • tedd November 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      I am not sure he meant t as an insult, I thought it was complementing him.

  5. Kathie Daniel November 15, 2017 at 7:41 am

    So how are the already overloaded court and penal systems going to handle the extra work? Is this legislation in compliance with best practices worldwide? The last thing we need is lawsuits arising from a well-intentioned piece of legislation. Oh and civil rights issues too!

  6. Sam Clarke November 15, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Congratulations again. It is time to seriously enforce the law and create new laws to fight this epidemic.

  7. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond November 15, 2017 at 8:11 am

    “Barbados Road Safety Amendment Act”? Did you mean the Road Traffic Amendment Act?

  8. ks November 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Why not introduce a Ticket system………. lots of money could be collected, quickly!! Instead, we have an out-dated court system where people have to take a day off work………. usually years after the event took place.

    All this chest-beating about big fines, etc…………. only forces lawyers to get involved then litigation turns into many years of delays. Keep fines reasonable so people would pay and move on.

  9. Sue Donym November 15, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Hopefully a person ordered to undergo breath testing has the right to see a new wrapped nozzle provided. I trust that the Licensing Authority will have its own records accurate and up to date and that there will be appropriate compensation for drivers wrongly denied their rights through Transport Authority or Licensing Authority records/equipment failures.

    How are you going to enforce a fine on a driver if another person littering from the vehicle is an adult or not a child in the driver’s charge?

  10. Chad November 15, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    you should check the bus drivers, them drink the most rum in the country!!!

  11. Sandra basc November 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Does the Act speak of proper maintenance of our roads?

  12. Donild Trimp November 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    @ Sue Donym
    “How are you going to enforce a fine on a driver if another person littering from the vehicle is an adult or not a child in the driver’s charge”?

    You ever traveled to Canada, the USA, Australia, the UK or Cuba?

    They will enforce it the same way it is enforced in those countries, by using common sense, Sue.


    • Sue Donym November 15, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      @Donild Trimp, if you think you’ve answered my question, I’ll have to conclude that you shook your head too often or too hard.

  13. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba November 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm


  14. jrsmith November 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I am all for change to stop the driving madness in barbados , but wait and see………

  15. The Elephant November 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Maybe suitable sidewalks and road lighting is the answer

  16. Helicopter(8P) November 16, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Is any one ready to put on A Grantly attire? Do you have a pair of cuff-links waist-coat and a swivel-tail suit ?

  17. Helicopter(8P) November 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    The money made from the breath analyzer testing will supplement road repairs.


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