Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds is concerned that too many motorists are getting away with just a slap on the wrist.
Speaking during debate on the 2016/2017 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue in Parliament today he called for harsher penalties to be imposed on drivers who continually flout the law.
Referring to Jamaica’s Transport Authority Act, Symmonds noted that provisions had been made for the seizure of route taxis, which were caught operating off route.
“We all know that that happens in Barbados everyday and we all know that the offence is treated to something of a revolving door and we have seen instances [where] such drivers may have 50 or more convictions,” said Symmonds, adding “the highest I have ever witnessed was 99”.
Insisting that there was need for more stringent penalties in Barbados, the St James Central MP said: “It is the nature of the repeated offence and you go off route again and you pass through the court and you are dealt a slap on the wrist.”
Symmonds also wants the authorities to be given the power to seize vehicles caught operating illegally as public transport.
“There are pirate vehicles who are on the route without having any licence to be there. You are plying the route as though you are a public passenger vehicle . . . and you are exposing persons who are being induced to ride in your vehicle to substantial risks of not being compensated by the insurance if and when there is an accident.”
He insisted that the law could be used to “rein in some of the lawlessness that is happening”.
Symmonds said similar sanctions should also be dished out to persons caught driving uninsured vehicles, or driving without a licence.
He argued that the current practice of giving a person caught driving without a licence seven days to produce it was much too lenient.
“I think we have to face the reality that that is unsatisfactory, because during the period of time, if that person was not licensed, an accident may take place and what then happens to the individual who is driving the vehicle that is unlicensed?” he questioned.