Slaughter continues: Road Fatalities up 61% over 2010

UPDATED: January 31, 2012

There are more calls today for the government to pass breathalyzer legislation. (See Nation: Call for breath test)

We’d like to remind Bajans that for seven eight years Transport Minister Boyce and his predecessors promised modern anti-drunk driving laws, breathalyzers and strict enforcement of traffic offences that kill our family members, friends and neighbours.

None of those laws or changes happened. In 2010, Transport Minister Boyce again promised, saying we’d see breathalyzer laws in 2011. We said at that time that we didn’t believe him. We were right.

Original post first published September 13, 2011…

Barbados 2010 road deaths 240% higher rate than U.K. – looking worse for 2011.

Government response to more fatalities: Transport Minister Boyce makes same speech he made a year ago!

December 2010, Boyce said…

“One of the things we have been talking about recently is the launch of our National Council for Road Safety which is a new umbrella organisation for all the road safety organisations in Barbados and being represented at the highest level of Government. Our plan is that the Prime Minister [Freundel Stuart] will chair this council or delegate to one of his ministers to do so.

“This is our response to the United Nations Declaration of Road Safety that will start in 2011, and goes until 2020…”

December 20, 2010: Transport Minister John Boyce quoted in response to several fatal road accidents. Nation News: Road Act Soon

August 26 2011, Boyce said…

Minister Boyce also disclosed that Cabinet recently approved the establishment of the Barbados National Road Safety Council, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister and with the Minister of Transport and Works as deputy chairman.

Meanwhile, Boyce said Barbados was vigorously pursuing objectives outlined under the United Nations General Assembly’s declaration that the years 2011 to 2020 was “The Decade for Road Safety”.

August 26, 2011: Minister Boyce interviewed over recent road deaths in Barbados Today: Mash the Brakes

Another year without modern anti-drunk driving laws, breathalyzers, pedestrian overpasses, cell phone driving ban, priority traffic law enforcement.

Transport Minister John Boyce - same speech, different year

Just about a year ago Barbados Free Press reported that Barbados road deaths happen at a 240% higher rate than the UK. You can forget that statistic because so far this year we’ve had 18 road deaths compared with 11 in the same period in 2010. That’s up 61% from last year’s already horrendous death rate.

Over a year ago we wrote Barbados cell phone driving ban coming? Why we don’t believe Minister of Transport John Boyce. We were correct: it was all talk and no action.

The DLP government and the BLP before it long promised pedestrian overpasses in some of the killing zones. The overpasses never came and pedestrians are still dying.

For seven years Transport Minister Boyce and his predecessors also promised modern anti-drunk driving laws, breathalyzers and strict enforcement of traffic offences that kill our family members, friends and neighbours.

None of that happened either.

Cause and Effect: Mass Road Deaths = Politician gives press conference

Have you noticed what happens when we have a particularly messy road death, mass injuries or a series of fatalities in a few weeks? Transportation Minister John Boyce gives a press conference, expresses sadness at the loss of life, sympathy for victims and their families – and then he makes a “We’re doing something about this” speech.

Yup. Happens every time. The latest was just a few weeks ago when pedestrian Eusteuce Padmore was killed instantly. In response, Minister Boyce “REVEALED”…

– The Cabinet “recently approved” the establishment of the Barbados National Road Safety Council.
– The council “will be chaired” by the Prime Minister. (In the future, when it really exists.)
– A “Steering Committee was presently working on the council’s launch…”

Oh yes… Boyce said that Barbados “was vigorously pursuing objectives outlined under the United Nations General Assembly’s declaration that the years 2011 to 2020 was ‘The Decade for Road Safety’.”

Fabulous. “Steering Committee”, “recently approved”, “will be chaired”. OH!!! Impressive! That sounds like ACTION, doesn’t it?

Trouble is, Boyce said the same thing in December of last year. Also last year in August – again in response to a very gruesome pedestrian death (photo above), Boyce promised a pedestrian overpass at Spring Garden Highway, and pedestrian paths near the CBC.

We still don’t believe that Minister of Transport John Boyce or his government consider road safety a priority. If they did, the new laws would have been in place two or three years ago. Hey… we’re coming up on four years in government for the DLP.

Why didn’t Transport Minister Boyce and his DLP government introduce Breathalyzer laws in the last year? Why didn’t the government introduce a driving cell phone ban like Boyce promised? Why are we hearing the same speech we’ve been hearing for years?

All talk, no action.

32 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics

32 responses to “Slaughter continues: Road Fatalities up 61% over 2010

  1. rasta man

    Why are you expecting any different. The politicians are only concerned with winning the next election.

  2. what will they think of next.

    We are importing vehicles into Barbados as though Barbados is getting bigger by the minute. The more vehicles on the road, the more carnage, it is as simple as that.
    The solution: severely limit the number of vehicles being imported into the island.
    Bermuda does it and their road accidents are no where near what takes place in Barbados.
    We are importing vehicles into Barbados as though Barbados is getting bigger by the minute.

  3. road rage

    Limiting vehicle imports!
    how the hell will that work?
    who will get to own a vehicle and who wont?

    Limiting the type of vehicles, now that is a better idea, small compact enomical cars and motorbikes

    Overpasses! waist of time and tax payers money. Bajans are to lazy to walk up the stairs and over, they will continue to take the faster root and take the risk.

    And as for breathalisers, it wont be inforced,
    I see drivers on the road breaking the law every day, window tint, people not wearing seat belts, children standing in the back inbetween seats just waiting for the parents to slam on brakes so they can can take a dive through the wind screen., Our Police force is overworked as it is, they dont have time for this,
    A far better sugestion would be spead cameras, they catch you speeding take a picture and mail you a hefty fine. no man power needed. and spend some money on educating the public in road saftey,

  4. BFP

    Hello Road Rage

    We lose more people to road deaths than murder. That’s not counting the ruined lives, people in wheel chairs, pretty girls all smashed in faces, time off work, etc.

    Your attitude is why we are where we are. You don’t view public safety and deaths as an issue unless they are caused by violence. Man gets drunk and kills another person, you say, “our police don’t have time for this.”

    HEY… are you a Member of Parliament?

    Ya, with a couldn’t care less attitude like that, you must be. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Minister.

  5. COMEHERE

    The fact that Barbados as a country cannot enforce basic traffic laws is indeed shameful and embarrassing to our nation. It is bare driver ignorance and stupidity gone wild, and presents a view to the world that we are a bunch of uneducated neanderthals who allow habitual offenders a free pass to kill . EVERYDAY, on every major road, at the same times all throughout the day, 7 days a week, you can witness the bus drivers–both blue and yellow and ZR—driving recklessly, speeding, taking unnecessary chances that endanger the public. Many of the passengers on these vehicles have no other choice for transportation in order to get to and from work. Tourists are terrified to drive on our roads. Over worked police force or not, this lawlessness is everywhere so how hard is it to enforce the law ? Go outside right now and within 10 minutes you will witness someone breaking the traffic laws. Cameras? Yes, effective IF THE LAW WAS ENFORCED. But not here in BIM. Compounding the insanity is the loud muffler, multiple gauge, foolishly modified sewing machine engine “race car” drivers, silly, delusional wannabe rally heroes who race up and down the roads without consequence. The drug running, unregistered scrambler bikes are a national joke. Only when the family or loved one of a politician is killed, or another St Joseph mass casualty occurs, will there be any meaningful national response. ENFORCE THE LAWS !!

  6. Junior

    Undertakers, body work men and car parts dealers have to eat too.

  7. Why is it that Bajans normally run on “Island Time” until the get behind the wheel of a car.

  8. Junior

    notbajan, you right, behind the wheel they run on snail time with nowhere to go and take all day to get there. Not to mention the inability to operate the steering wheel AND depress the throttle pedal simultaneously. I think some vehicles got nails and pins sticking up through the gas pedal so it does hurt them to mash it.

  9. rasta man

    @junior: Somehow I think you did not understand the comment by”notbajan”. He was saying the opposite.

  10. Junior

    Rasta man, I know exactly what notbajan was implying :D, I find things to be the opposite of what that person said though. Seriously, on the ABC highway in dry daylight conditions and people does grudge you de speed limit. Or when dem bore in front you from a side road and dont accelerate enough that you got to pass them or slow down to avoid a collision.

  11. Pieter Pieper

    This is the age of technological sophistication.It is time for us to use those modern tools which enable control of those who deliberately break the law…the speed demons,those who do not buckle up,use car seats for children,cell phones while driving,stop on the side of the highway to converse,make purchases,and yes,owners of livestock who allow their animals to access the highway etc.etc..Let us use cameras,members of the police force,defence force,trained in the operation of radar and breathalyzer equipment.Let us have magistrates dispense swift justice,impose heavy fines,,suspend licences,confiscate vehicles,jail repeated offenders

  12. Mac

    Last August man killed on Spring Garden Highway, This August man killed on Spring Garden Highway. Amid calls for crossing and lights still nothing.

  13. Shelly Ross

    Allow me to state that Barbados Road Fatalities were incorrectly stated. At the end of August 2010, there were 15 road deaths and not 11 as stated. Information on the fatalities can be found on the Barbados Road Safety Web Site ‘www.barbadosroads.net’ under ‘statistics.
    Eighteen people died on our roads since the Minister’s statements in December 2010 and again in August this year and one should note that while speed, driving tired and under the influence of alchol seem to be playing major roles in many of these fatalities and in particular speed….the Minister said that there would be no lowering of speed limits.
    What is even more disappointing is the fact there are laws on the books to deal with such, they are not being enforced. Why would a new Act make a difference?
    At a recent call day in a traffic court, not one of the traffic offenders was up for speeding and although any of us can step outside and watch vehicles flying by, the police are not on the roads checking for speed.
    We use the lame excuse of ‘not having breathalyser testing’ as the reason we cannot charge anyone for driving under the influence, when in fact the police can ask suspected drunk drivers to be escorted to the QEH for testing (blood test), but unfortunately it does not seem that there is enough interest to rid the streets of drunk drivers.
    While road users have a major responsibility to play in staying safe on the roads, the authorities in Barbados need to start acting and stop talking. There would always be cars and possibly more cars, more people would have licences and more of the elderly would stay behind wheels….there is no getting away from that…but if the authorities get serious and show that persons would pay ….and heavily pay for disrespecting the law…that would make a difference.
    Earlier this year when I walked out of a meeting at MTW with the Traffic management committee when We were called ‘neophytes’ by an MTW Official, I went on ari and stated that you cannot have the same people doing the same thing year after year and expect different results and I called for a clean up in the departments that seem to be blocking progress.
    I still feel the same way and it is my opinion that the police needs to do a better job on the roads and stop making excuses like lack of personnel…use what you have and do so efficiently…work!
    As for MTW …The arrogance coming from MTW needs to be stamped out and officials there need to understand that it is not about their egos…..people are dying on our roads.
    Shelly Ross

  14. I drive badly becozzzzz (I'm asleep at the wheel half the time?)

    Many Bajans drive badly because they are TAUGHT BADLY,
    -by ppl who learned to drive(kinda) …forty years ago.

    I see evidence of this 1960s driving style every time I see Bajans cornering wiiiide avoiding the inside curb, like it’s gonna jump out and swallow the entire car?
    (THAT”S JUST ONE
    SMALL DAILY EXAMPLE OF SILLY DRIVING).

    Over the decades, Bajans have been persuaded by the local Police Force to drive slowly.
    SLOW is equated with SAFE.
    Paying Attention has little to do with safety, it would seem.

    Radios playing, chosselling, eating,
    arm/elbow out the window(MAJOR INDICATOR that nothing in the brain is going on)
    CONSTANTLY ON THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING, spending all their money on yappa yappa yappa…lol
    no-one PAYS ANY ATTENTION to their driving….except me?
    (it IS dangerous stuff)

    Bajans are exempt from having to pay attention.
    Many of them drive along in their own strange little worlds! I see it daily!

    You could call them un-conscious drivers, with eyes wide open somehow..

    None of this is surprising…….none of it.

  15. So glad you mentioned...

    “Compounding the insanity is the loud muffler, multiple gauge,
    foolishly modified sewing machine engine “race car” drivers,
    silly, delusional wannabe Rally heroes
    who race up and down the roads without consequence.

    The NOISY drug running, unregistered scrambler bikes are a national joke.”

    ..because I too recognize this nonsense as part of the idiocy that too many young Bajans suffer from.

    You see…
    it’s so difficult to clamp down on the UNREGISTERED extremely-loud drug-running scrambler bikes
    because they gather every Sunday evening on a private road just South-East of SEARLES Pltn. Ch.Ch. -on the way up to Woodbourne

    Get there around 4:30 / 5, Park the car and just hang around a bit.
    You’ll get an eyeful as to how bad the problem is.
    Very few of them display Reg. numbers that you can make out without a magnifying glass!! lol
    Take the camera.
    Maybe a few clear shots sent to NATION, RBPF Advocate and other media outlets
    MIGHT evoke some action, but I doubt it.

    You see. as our late Dearly Departed PM said…”We are not an enforcing society.”

    At Searles, you’ll also learn how many spectators drop by
    (DOZENS of cars, parked up and down the road!)
    to witness and cheer on the madness!!
    It’s a whole sub-culture thing, waaay beyond the average person!

    The whole thing is so totally out of control
    that the R.B.Police Force simply HAVE TO BE involved,
    if only by their inaction and recognition that this stuff IS going on here!
    They MUST know about it (if I do?), and yet they do absolutely nothing!

    This LOL is for you, RBPF!

    BARBADOS NOW HAS A JOKEY INACTIVE POLICE FORCE
    just like the Trinidad one we Bajans used to laugh at, 10-20 yrs. ago.

  16. what will they think of next

    Ask the Bermuda Govt. how they get it done so successfully, Road Rage.

  17. Junior

    Shelly Ross I disagree with your paradigm. You supposedly suggested that the speed limits be reduced which fails. I think traffic management is key and anything else comes after. A road like the 4 lane section between LOB and Graeme Hall roundabouts I dare say was designed for traffic 80km/h. I bet its capacity is even higher. As a driver one must know one’s limitations and if one cannot maintain that speed on said road in dry, daylight conditions and stay in one’s lane then take an alternate route.

    Spring Garden is/was supposed to be a highway and as such bicycles were banned from the road, it is time to ban pedestrians too, pending the construction of an over or under pass for them. But as someone said, even then some nitwit will not want to use it and still run cross the road. Fine, let them do that, if them get lick down then dont let it be no noise. Like I said, undertakers got to eat too.

    I drive badly becozzzzz (I’m asleep at the wheel half the time?) said slow is equated with safe in Bim. I would add that hesitation is equated with caution.

    If the BRSA wants to do something useful, launch programs that would encourage people to maintain traffic flow. Stop letting out people from side roads, they only went through there to duck traffic in the first place. When the light turns green loose de piece of car you driving, the quicker one gets up to speed the more vehicles will make it through a given junction per green light. But then if Bajans had to drive like that they would not have time to pose off and people would not see them and what they are driving, defeating the reason most of them aspire to own cars.

  18. Contemplating Life

    As someone who spends much of my working day on the road, I am witness to so much lawlessness on the road, I could write a book………
    We need to start at the beginning….. learning how to drive and the testing procedures. They need to be totally revamped. No driver should pass his test without knowing how to control a skidding vehicle, I learned the hard, very expensive way…….
    How difficult would it be to have classroom sessions on car control ? Write a proper road users manual with diagrams to show how to deal with different types of junctions etc. Construct a skid pad at the licensing authority that every driver has to use as part of their final test…..

  19. RRRicky

    We have to change the culture that drinking and driving is okay. We did it with smoking and women’s rights, we can do it with drunk driving. The laws must come first and they must be enforced. When there are no laws it is useless to talk about other measures. Where is our new breathalizer law we were promised a decade ago?

  20. Fleur

    The West Coast road is a truly terrifying experience when a bus approaches , why oh why are they allowed to drive like kids on a race track?

  21. BA88/98

    Is there some reason why our elected MPs don’t want to have breathalyzer laws? We have to change our culture and some people say change the culture and the laws will follow. That is wrong. Change the law and the culture will follow, but only if there is enforcement of the law.

  22. just want to know

    Everyone of our MP’s drink alcohol, who don’t drink rum, drink whisky or gin, so tell me how are they going to put in Breathalyser test?

  23. forreal

    I agree that MTW people are arrogant. Look at how they responded to the Warrens roundabout crap. They said drivers need to get a chance to understand it and nothing was wrong with it when instead the stupid round about was badly designed. Learn this: always design things to help the stupid and lawless people among us to not do stupid lawsless things. Design for fail safe as much as you can . never believe people will comply automatically. They won’t. If you do not believe me asks the scores of people that got hit at that roundabout. Look how the MTW changed the road directions about three times already to correct the well designed roundabout that nothing was wrong with.

  24. Anonymous

    When Speaker Michael Carrington signed a petition to have the breathalyzer introduced to Barbados you guys at BFP (along with Ian Bourne) scoffed; look at you now.

  25. RLL says Anonymous is a LIAR!

    Anonymous above says BFP scoffed when Speaker Carrington signed a petition to have the breathalyzer introduced. Anonymous LIES!

    Here’s what BFP said in their article ‘How many more have to die before Barbados gets breathalyzer laws?’

    “Can MP Michael Carrington lead the way? Will the Health & Transport Ministers join him?

    We see in today’s Barbados Advocate that Speaker of the House and MP for St. Michael West signed a petition calling for the government to enact breathalyser laws.

    Signing was an excellent gesture by Mr. Carrington and we hope that he continues to push for his government to finally do something about the carnage on our roads.

    His next step should perhaps be to speak with Health Minister Donville Innis who exhibited a definite “take it or leave it – not really interested” attitude to breathalyser laws when Mr. Innis last talked with Barbados Free Press about the subject in December of 2009.

    I don’t know why this should be so difficult because breathalysers will save lives, and both the law and the technology are relatively cheap, quick and easy to implement. It’s not like we have to invent anything or do much more than copy and paste laws from other countries with a little tweaking for our culture and court system.”

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/how-many-more-have-to-die-before-barbados-gets-modern-breathalyzer-laws/

  26. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Barbados really needs to pass laws against those who drink and drive. Why the politicians in this country believe that everything must take time (years if not decades) to implement is beyond me. But only a few comments on here recognizes what Barbados real problems really are. I mean its stirring us in the face every single friggin day.
    1. 144,000 cars in a population that is only just past 300,000? Got to be accidents of all Kinds.
    2. Ever increasing fustration on our roads leading to road rage (alot to do with item 1 and 2). Got to be accidents of all Kinds
    3. Road works planning and design leaves alot to be desired. I mean when did we start thinking road work design, last year? Such works should coincide with overall development but appears that development comes first and then the roads are an after thought. Where we dumb 50 years ago or too poor to plan properly?
    4. The major causes of accidents relates to road work designs and lack of proper controls to regulate road indiscipline
    5. Indiscipline issues leads to less tolerance and less intolerance leads to persons who will take chances and break rules. Why? Indiscipline is just a small part of the larger part of the indifference currently prevailing in our society. So drivers will take chances breaking the law because enforcement of rules, well let’s jst say is not a real big issue bout hey. And for those who will raise the Red Flag – Barbadians are not as discipline and courteous as some would have us to believe.
    6. The improvement proposals in road works is trying to squeeze a solution out something that does not offer much room for improvement, hence the reason why a former admistration felt it prudent to go the route of fly overs (which is as ludicrous as the folks who came up with the Warrens round-a-bout design.

    – So what are the solutions. Well for starters we cannot continue to import so many cars because we just got that much people with ”real real” income to buy them
    – Future road planning must coincide with domestic and commercial works

    – Current road system needs proper regurlatory enforcement so I think speed cameras and spy camers are a good deterrent. When reasonable fines ( not micky mouse fines) are imposed …well let us just say people will get the message (especially the road hogs call ZRs)
    – Indisciple is a societal matter and since governments seem to think that that building a few community service outlets and free education can change it well they need to think again. National service at the age of 18 in the arms service is a good way of instilling some discipline. I mean seem to work for a number of large industrial countries around the world and I never see the fighing over getting into a bus.
    To continued. I gotta go!!!

  27. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    oops should Staring

  28. yatinkiteasy

    Almost every time I see a report of another death on the road there is a ZR or ZM involved.Frequent deaths are also young motorcyclists who speed(perhaps on one wheel) lose control. and smash into a wall or tree.
    I wonder what % of the deaths in 2010 and 2011 can be attributed to these idiots.
    The police are doing nothing to enforce the speeding limit, or the dangerous driving of the ZR`s and ZM`s.
    I went to court once for not wearing a seat belt…there were a few ZR drivers charged that day for overloading, stopping where they shouldn’t, etc..but one Driver had 67 prior charges, and was charged for driving without a valid License!He was fined a few hundred dollars, and left the court laughing.
    If anyone thinks that passing a Breathalyzer Test law will significantly reduce road deaths, while the ZR and motorcycle idiots are left to do want they want, is living in a fantasy land.

  29. Wily Coyote

    I have a solution to reducing road deaths, mitigating traffic issues and saving massive expenditures on road construction……….

    Raise the price of gasoline and diesel immediately to $10.00 per liter and watch the positive results.

  30. yatinkiteasy

    Willy…do you realize that Trucks and vans transport all the food you eat to the supermarkets? This should raise our already high prices by at least 5%.
    Come again.

  31. bimshire

    wily is an ass, you obviousley ar fat and lazy and wath TV all day,