Top-Heavy death traps: 18 casualties as another minibus overturns – “5 critical, 4 severe”

Barbados Bus Accidents

Barbados Bus Accident Injury

(Photos courtesy of Nation News & Barbados Today)

“Our minibuses are badly designed. They are difficult to control and are far too unstable for a vehicle transporting our loved ones.”

Another minibus driver loses control – “5 critical, 4 severe”

Can the Barbados government deny the truth any longer? Our minibuses are poorly engineered, top-heavy death traps that are inherently unstable even when only half full.

How many more similar accidents do we need to see before we do something to correct the problem? How many more dead and injured will it require?

37 injured in Minibus tip-over in 2012

37 injured in Minibus tip-over in 2012

“Another day, another horrific traffic accident with lives, faces and families ruined.

You’re looking at an overturned minibus on Pinders Bottom Main Road in St. George. Thirty seven people hurt with 5 critically injured.”

From the March 15, 2012 BFP story Another mass casualty bus accident: 37 injured, 5 critical

The minibuses are involved in way too many tip-overs, but even when they stay on their wheels they sway badly and the drivers often struggle to maintain control. You see it happening! How often have you seen minibuses veer over the road center? It’s an everyday happening and so common that drivers know to keep an eye on an oncoming minibus and move over a little bit just in case something happens.

How many minibus accidents are caused by the poor handling, even if the bus doesn’t tip over? I’d bet there are plenty. Yes, speed and recklessness are factors as is poor maintenance – but speed and maintenance alone cannot account for the slaughter. There is something wrong with the buses.

In aviation, there comes a time when you have to stop blaming the pilots and start blaming a bad airplane.

Airplanes like the Mitsubishi MU2, Ted Smith Aerostar, Lake Amphibian and the Piper Twin Comanche aren’t called ‘widow-maker’ for no reason. They are too much to handle for the normal pilot. Lots of folks will say they are fine aircraft if flown correctly, but if you compare the accident rate per hours flown you’ll see that each of them is off the scale. Give all the excuses you like – talk about factors like bush flying and older aircraft and maintenance problems and whatever you like: some aircraft are just born bad. The insurance rates say everything! (Consider the hot little Aerostar that crashes at three times the rate of similar twins. What do you think that does to your insurance?)

Our minibuses are badly designed. They are difficult to control and are far too unstable for a vehicle transporting our loved ones.

But the bank is empty, and we can’t even afford to repair the minibuses we have let alone replace them.

So it has come to this: we have dangerous, under maintained buses and there’s not a thing we can do about it thanks to our so-called leaders over the last 20 years.


Barbados Today – Breaking: 18 injured as minibus overturns

Nation News – QEH statement on mass casualty

March 18, 2012 – Breaking: ANOTHER mass casualty bus accident – 11 injured near Globe Drive-In, Christ Church

November 28, 2010 – Barbados road deaths: 240% higher rate than UK

August 17, 2010 – How many more have to die before Barbados gets modern breathalyzer laws?

April 17, 2010 – Driver in Barbados mass casualty bus accident “hung over and smelled of drink” ?

July 30, 2007 – Tragedy At Joes River – Six Dead In Barbados Tour Bus Crash


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Disaster

35 responses to “Top-Heavy death traps: 18 casualties as another minibus overturns – “5 critical, 4 severe”

  1. St George's Dragon

    “In aviation, there comes a time when you have to stop blaming the pilots and start blaming a bad airplane.”
    In public transport, we have not got that far yet. A fair percentage of the minibus drivers driver like lunatics. Crazy “Eagle Hall” driving has to be discounted before we start looking for an inherent fault with the buses.

  2. Stupse

    Stupse, it’s not the fault of the busses, if it was there would far more accidents then there has been so far.
    The fault lies directly with the drivers! They are so aggressive and unruly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless government does something drastic to correl these reckless operators, accidents will continue.

  3. Nair

    Speed!?…?? SPEEDING? I cannot comment on the physical attributes of the buses but I feel confident if driven at normal speeds and within the limits set for our roads there will be fewer accidents. Mini buses by their very nature fight for business. They speed unnecessarily.

  4. speed kills

    I agree with all the comments above, drivers need severe punishments, those buses overturn due to excessive speed while cornering and overloading.

    We constantly see the shit they do on our roads and nothing is done about it.

  5. Crammed full!

    The minibuses are death traps. They do sway dangerously, especially when full. Driver speed is a problem but it is being used as an excuse to avoid examining the buses. They are death traps.

  6. robert ross

    We are all agreed on this. IF the drivers knew there was something wrong with the buses they would slow down wouldn’t they – well if they actually have pre-frontal lobes which I guess is very uncertain? So many on our roads suffer from “I am a great driver and it couldn’t happen to me” syndrome which modified means “I neva think anyway”..

  7. CQ9

    How typical that Bajans don’t want to address a mode of expanded thinking about causative factors. Can’t blame it of the whites or on speeding drivers or both, then anything else is not worthy of consideration

  8. Anonymous

    The drivers are crazy with no regard for the safetybof passengers. They race each other at break neck speed. Time for the law to change. But clearly the police turn a blind eye

  9. St George's Dragon

    Occam’s Razor – “When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”

  10. Comcerned

    People forget who own these mini buses, nothing will be done, prominent citizens are making money from this business

  11. Peter Quinlan

    This doesn’t surprise me. As a matter of fact I’m quite surprised there aren’t MORE accidents like this. As a regular visitor to Barbados from Newfoundland Canada, it astonishes me how these ZR’s are even legal. Sure, I’ve rode them many times but in reality you are taking your life in your hands when you get in one. Music blaring, a driver who thinks he’s on a Formula One track, smoking (sometimes pot) & drinking (God knows what? Rum Punch??), WAY WAY too many passengers, a questionable vehicle (doors that suddenly open at high speeds), no seatbelts, road conditions not unlike 3rd world Africa, etc. etc. How can this be legal? Where are the authorities? I feel truly sorry for the people who were injured & the families that have to deal with the consequences. I’ll be using the Barbados Transport (public blue buses) when I visit in April.

  12. just want to know

    I think what a lot of us are missing here is that some of the Police Officers own some of these minibuses & vans, & some of the Politicians or their families, so pray tell me what else do you expect? None of their families will ride on them, so what do I care? and they should pay the drivers a proper salary. The criteria for driving one of these things is not being afraid of the police. Can you imagine a man has 72 offences before the court & still driving one of these things?

  13. John

    I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and beggars can’t be choosers and all that but I wonder if the authorities deployed 13 new brand tricycle ambulances to respond to this mass casualty.

    I would guess with the numbers injured that every last ambulance in Barbados may have been employed and the authorities were no doubt glad to have the extra resources.

    It they performed adequately, I see they only cost $900 US.

  14. robert ross

    St George

    Or – better the one you can see than you can’t see. (I always knew it as ‘two theories equally tenable, equally probable’ – but it’s nice we’re on the same page).

  15. robert ross

    Just want

    You are tantalizing us. Do you want to be more specific?

  16. D Oracle.

    If a driver doing shite and a passenger don’t lay a 2 x 4 crost his head at the next stop and then leave d bus, d drivers will continue being the cnuts we know them to be.

  17. Big cat

    Has there been any statistical data which indicates who is doing this speeding? I am curious as to who is doing this kind of speeding!!!!

  18. Big cat

    The dollar -driven -mentality could actually be a factor in regards to this dangerous conduct being exhibited by these individuals?

  19. Time has come for monitoring. Gps tracking a stipulation for a minibus licence. With mobile data this can be done in pretty much real time. See how many accidents there are when the crazy driving is provable and people are held accountable (not just the drivers but owners too). After we get the PSVs transport board is next, as they too have some crazy drivers also.



  21. John

    Sounds like you describing the Government and the situation in Barbados!!

  22. John

    Wherever you look in Barbados it is a bunch of clowns you see!!

  23. Tudor

    The worst collection of misfits, untidy, smelly, in-disciplined, rude, to be found anywhere in the Island. I believe that there is a law in Barbados that drivers have to wear shoes not slippers, is it enforced ? drinking a beer or soft drink while driving? a no no. And a few years the Transport hires a bunch of Mini bus drivers result? Transport Board drivers – in uniform – behave like Minibus drivers.
    Ever noticed how many young men are driving ZRs? law should be no one under 25 should be allowed to drive PSVs, Insurance Companies should insist on this and not even at a higher premium.
    Govt – BLP/DLP – have allowed this situation to get out of hand because of who are involved.

  24. Repeat visitor

    I find it funny that here police urge drivers to exercise more caution. In canada the police slap huge fines and suspend licenses. This has changed driving habits more than words. I don’t understand why Barbados doesn’t do this.

  25. Dwyte B.

    Those minibus drivers have to’hustle’ day in and day out. Some if not most start as early as 4.30 am, and end after 8/9 pm.The problem is some owners expect them to make a certain amount of money by a particular time, on lucrative routes with lots of other minibuses and omnibuses on those same routes.

  26. Dwyte B.

    Hence there’s a dollar driven mentality.

  27. simple solution

    God forbid that the public deserves some simple mechanical solutions to protect their safety if the owners, drivers are only interested in money.

    Install speed limiters or governors in the buses maxing the speed at 20 or 30 MPH

    you will still have accidents but incredibly reduced.

    Does the public deserve this protection?

  28. John


    You want to start a riot?

  29. simple solution


    Okay I get it.

    Do nothing

  30. Yatinkiteasy

    How many cases of speeding by these lunatics are brought before the courts every year? Too few, and often, the drivers have multiple convictions. What about two convictions for speeding , reckless driving, by aPSV driver….jail time and revoking or suspending his license. How about jailing an owner who hires a driver, who does not have a valid license?
    Nothing will change unless laws are changed and existing laws enforced.

  31. Michael Stamler

    We had the same problem in Israel for many years and it was solved as follows:

    The bus companies realized that it was not in their best interest to create a competitive atmosphere among the drivers. So they were retaught over time that they are in no rush to get where they have to go. They were retaught how to driver slowly, below the speed limit, and to always let the other driver do what he wants including cutting in.

    Your drivers need a new mandate on their responsibilities. In the short term this may mean less profits but in the long term the profitability will return with the benefit of significantly reduced casualties.

    Michael Stamler, Israel

  32. John

    There you go!!

    They just want learning manners!

    …. but if the problem is the top heavy bus …. then we should also take a look see at the tricycle ambulances!

  33. What are the odds of a tricycle ambulance overturning ? Frightening !
    Drivers of Transport Board buses are also a serious problem. I am not a regular user of public transportation but on occasion I accompany friends from overseas on trips for the purpose of sightseeing. Their main complaints are crudity,lack of manners, and vulgarity of drivers and collectors, and ,most of all, RECKLESSNESS. Many accidents … especially those resulting in fatalities…can be avoided by strict laws and their enforcement. The police and courts are obviously not doing their job. WHY ? Connections ? Relatives? Friends ?

  34. Pingback: British tourist complains of dangerous bus rides “Lucky to be alive” | Barbados Free Press