Concerned about reckless behaviour by some on this country’s roads, a top official of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) has called for a major legal crackdown on road traffic offenders.
Calling for changes to the relevant laws, BRSA President Sharmane Roland-Bowen believes that those found guilty of such offences should not only have their vehicles taken away, but auctioned off as well.
While strongly lamenting that there had been too much aggression on the island’s roads in recent times, she made a direct appeal to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to take urgent action to stop the recklessness.
“We need the authorities to do what they have to do and take their responsibility and put measures in place that would allow for safer roads for everyone,” Roland-Bowen said.
“We cannot sit back and have one category of drivers or motorcyclists taking command on our road,” she added.
Her comments came in the wake of a video making the rounds on social media showing bikers engaging in reckless stunts on a section of the highway, and in confrontation with motorists.
Speaking Friday at a short awards ceremony at the Rendezvous office of the BRSA, Roland-Bowen condemned the bikers’ behaviour, while pointing out that male drivers tended to take more risks and to be more egotistical than females.
“I want to commend [the Royal Barbados Police Force] and the efforts that they are doing in tackling this form of activities on our roads, but . . . their hands are tied and the only person that can untie their hands is the Attorney General and the legislators by providing the tools, not only the tools and equipment, but also the facilities that would allow our officers to confiscate some of these vehicles and auction them off, not just take them up off the road and then on another day or two these motorcycles are given back to the owners,” Roland-Bowen explained.
“It is wrong. You cannot control the roads like that,” the road safety official said, adding: “I hope the Attorney General is listening and I hope they do intend to act soon, act swiftly.”
While expressing disappointment that neither breathalyzer legislation nor a promised ban on cellphone use while driving was implemented this year, Roland-Bowen said the BRSA would be “fighting” to ensure this was done next year.
She also suggested that Government should seriously consider assigning a road safety representative, either in the Ministry of Transport & Works or in the Attorney General’s Office.
In October this year Minister of Transport & Works Michael Lashley revealed that a new “three strikes and you are out” rule and a minimum age of 25 for operators of public service vehicles (PSVs) were two new measures being introduced in the revised Road Traffic Act.
The vexing issue of motorcyclists performing wheelies will be prohibited under the revised Act, so too will be the use of mobile phones while driving, Lashley had revealed.
Additionally, Government has promised that breathalyzer testing would become legal.
With only nine road fatalities recorded so far for 2016, Roland-Bowen described this year as one of the best on record given the low incidence of death. There were 21 road deaths last year.