Tag Archives: Barbados Road Safety

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. Continue reading

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First Time! Transport Minister mentions ‘Breathalyser’ will be part of new Road Traffic Act

Is this announcement legitimate or once again blowing off the press?

Transport Minister John Boyce

For the fourteenth time since January 2006, a Barbados government Minister has announced that a new Road Act should be ready “soon”.

Today’s announcement comes from Minister of Transport and Works, John Boyce, who tells The Nation that the new Road Traffic Amendment Act “should soon be ready”.

For the very first time we are being told that the act will have a breathalyser section.

But read a little further and you’ll see that the new law will be ready for “public comment” at the end of March. How much longer it will be before it gets through Parliament, or why the law has been sitting around since 2007, we’re not told.

We’re also informed by the Minister that the DLP government has “been talking about recently” a new Road Safety Umbrella organization called “National Council for Road”.

Well, isn’t that nice? The Minister has been “talking” about it. No doubt there will be more meetings about holding more meetings “soon”.

Minister Boyce’s announcement was no doubt in response to a recent series of articles at Barbados Free Press where we chided the government for not caring about road deaths due to drunk drivers, and the fact that British tourists have a 240% greater chance of being killed in a car accident in Barbados than back home.

So Boyce says that Barbados will have breathalyser laws in 2011.

Do we believe Minister Boyce?

Given the record: Not really.

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Warning, Graphic: Another untidy road death

“We are not an enforcement society”

Those words spoken by the late Prime Minister David Thompson one night on the CBC were nothing but the truth. Folks were aghast that he said the words – but at the same time seemed unconcerned about the truth of his statement. How like us that is: we’re concerned about the image, not with the reality of our society’s faults.

We are NOT an enforcement society. It shows in the trash on the streets, in the number of people and businesses that fail to pay taxes for years (sometimes decades) without penalties and when people steal millions from the public purse and never a charge is laid.

And it shows in the number of fatal accidents on our roads. Tourists from the UK have a 240% greater chance of dying in a road accident in Barbados than back at home. We lose more people to road deaths than to murder, but we don’t have effective laws against drinking and driving. Our Royal Barbados Police Force is 100 officers under strength because we pay Constables less than we pay our garbage workers.

And so another young man died on Thursday morning.

Tito Michael Anderson Bradshaw of Wilkinson Road, Richmond Gap, St. Michael, died at about 8:40am at 1st Avenue Weekes Land near Goodland, St. Michael. He lost control of his motorcycle and his head hit a pole.

A crowd gathered. His mum was brought to the scene and the poor woman lost it right there and it’s no wonder. But in a short while the body was removed and the blood and brains on the road were hosed down. After the sun dried everything up, it was like nothing had ever happened. No tourists would be alarmed. No locals would be concerned when passing by the site.

“The guy was riding a scrambler at top speed. Remember only a couple of weeks ago we were talking about these scramblers and the danger that they pose.”

BFP reader ‘What will they think of next?’

Whether it’s crime or road accidents, our police are excellent at cleaning up – just not so good at prevention. And who can blame them when the politicians stage cricket parties and celebratory evenings but won’t pass the laws that the police need to protect us all.

The photos are grim, gruesome even – but we’re going to show them here in full because they might save another young man’s life. Our thanks to BFP reader ‘What will they think of next’.

Here are the graphic photos… Continue reading

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Please visit the Barbados Road Safety Association

Click on the banner to visit the BRSA website.

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Barbados Road Safety Association “Are police looking for someone to do their jobs for them?”

BRSA President Sharmane Roland Bowen slams police over call for “Road Safety Czar”

Accident Victim’s Aunt blames Royal Barbados Police Force for failing in their duty

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened.  How many more of our people going to lose their lives before the law enforcement exercise their duty?” … June Straughn, aunt of 17 year old Rossi Straughn – killed while riding in the open back of a truck.

A few days ago Police Inspector Leon Blades, the officer in charge of Traffic Division, admitted to selectively not enforcing a part of the traffic law that just resulted in the needless death of a young man. During the same interview the Inspector called for the establishment of a “Road Safety Czar”.

Barbados Free Press covered the story and said “included in those who aren’t taking road safety seriously enough are members of the Royal Barbados Police Force who fail to enforce the Road Traffic Act.” (Read our previous story Fatal Traffic Accidents: Police admit not doing their job.)

Today the President of the Barbados Road Safety Association also strongly responded to Inspector Blades’ interview – basically telling Blades and his officers to stop whining, and to enforce the traffic laws and show some leadership. Whew! Continue reading

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Fatal Traffic Accidents: Police Inspector tells how our police are not doing their job

Police admit to not enforcing the law against trucks carrying passengers in the back

The death toll is now two from Tuesday’s head-on collision between two large trucks on St. Luke’s Road, St. George. 17-year-old *Roosi Straughn, who died at the scene, was one of seven passengers carried illegally in the open back of one of the trucks. Yesterday the driver of the that vehicle, Ervine Barker, died of his injuries at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Roosi and Ervine. We hope they will find peace and also fondly remember the precious time they had with their loved ones. When we lose friends suddenly like this we are all reminded that a person never knows the day or the hour when they might be called home, so we should enjoy each moment and do our best in everything while we can.

With that in mind, we have to comment that our police have not been doing the best that they can to prevent accidents and save lives. The statements by Police Inspector Leon Blades in today’s Nation are proof enough of that. Continue reading

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Speaker of the House Michael Carrington calls for Barbados breathalyser law

Every year more people are killed in road accidents in Barbados than are murdered, yet successive BLP and DLP governments refuse to implement breathalyser equipment and modern laws to protect people from drunk drivers.

The first job of government is to protect the citizens, and successive BLP and DLP governments have failed to protect the citizens when it comes to people who drink and drive.

Six dead at the Joes River tour bus crash, four more dead in the Emancipation Day crash and others. But in these and other serious crashes since, aside from an autopsy, Barbados Police have no way of proving how much an involved driver has been drinking.

That is because our government has been negligent in providing the legal structure and the equipment that the police need to protect us all.

… from the BFP article Barbados Bus Crash Injures 59 – Police Cannot Determine If Drivers Had Been Drinking

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.

Maybe if folks at Parliament could leave their pistols at home and stay sober for a couple of days we could get this law passed! (sorry… couldn’t help it.)

Further Reading

Dec 21, 2009 – Barbados Health Minister Donville Inniss: Breathalyzer Law & Equipment not necessary

Oct 5, 2009 – The Failure of DLP and BLP Governments to protect Bajans from dangerous & drunk drivers

November 22, 2008: Barbados Bus Crash Injures 59 – Police Cannot Determine If Drivers Had Been Drinking

November 22, 2007 – Five Year Sentence For Dangerous Driver – But Still No Breathalyzer Law

October 30, 2007 – More Road Deaths Than Murders: Yet Barbados Still Does Not Have Breathalyzer Laws Or Technology

August 15, 2007 – Minister of Transport Gline Clarke Finally “Talking” About Driver Breathaliser Tests – As First Suggested By By Barbados Free Press Over A Year Ago

July 25, 2006 – Barbados Government To Ban Cell Phones While Driving

Top photo: Barbados Advocate

Bottom: Nation News

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