Tag Archives: Breathalyzer

Barbados road deaths: 240% higher rate than UK

Another year without modern anti-drunk driving laws

Be careful out there!

As Independence Day, Christmas and the new year arrive, BFP wants to remind our readers to have fun, but be careful because drunk drivers think that they are “the reason for the season”.

Our friends at the Barbados Road Safety Association recently placed 28 markers at various places around the island to remind us that Barbados is averaging 28 road fatalities a year. We thank them for that valuable service and the good work the BRSA does all year.

And we confess that we loved it earlier this year when BRSA President Sharmane Roland Bowen asked Are the police looking for someone to do their jobs for them?

The BRSA publicity campaigns save lives. Folks see the crosses and slow down. They read about the campaign and plan how they will get home before they have their first drink and maybe grab the car keys from a friend who’s had too much. Who knows how many lives have been saved by the BRSA’s efforts? Maybe even your life or the lives of your loved ones and friends.

But publicity campaigns can only do so much. If we want to change the culture of drinking and driving in Barbados, we must enact modern laws and give the police the tools to protect us. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Health

How much was death car driver drinking? Barbados police have no idea

Barbados has no breathalyzer law

On Sunday afternoon, Errol Briggs walked across Spring Garden Highway from the beach and was struck by a vehicle driven by Preston Parris. Mr. Briggs was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital but was found to be dead upon arrival.

The gruesome photo published in the Barbados Advocate (see above) shows the rear window of the Parris auto smashed out with blood covering the rear of the car and running onto the road. It must have been some impact and such that (hopefully) Mr. Briggs did not suffer. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police, Politics

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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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Disaster, Health, Police

Driver in Barbados mass casualty bus accident “hung over and smelled of drink” ?

35 bus passengers injured but police did not test drivers for drinking or drugs

In the last week Barbados Free Press received several emails and comments from different (anonymous or unconfirmed) readers claiming that one of the bus drivers of the April 6, 2010 Market Hill bus vs bus accident had been out drinking the night before and may have still been hung over at the time of the accident.

Two of the readers provided the same name of this “hung over” driver. One reader stated that they were sure that the police investigating the accident knew the driver still smelled of drink from the night before but it was decided that the driver wasn’t drunk enough to charge under the current law. That reader also provided the name of one of the police officers who is involved in the accident investigation and said that the police desperately wish they had breathalyzer equipment and appropriate laws for situations just like this.

Standpipe rumour or fact?

Barbados Free Press often receives “rumours” from anonymous readers, most of whom are just trying to relate what they have heard or seen. Sometimes, however, folks send us information where they might have a political or other agenda, or perhaps they are just trying to create mischief. It is often difficult for us or anyone to tell the difference especially if the mis-information is mixed in with a good dose of proven facts.

But unknown agendas by anonymous or known sources have always been part of the challenge of publishing news. (Just ask Reuters, the LA Times or the New York Times!) The good thing about the blogs is that once something is published the entire community becomes a resource and knowledge base.

So what’s the story folks? Can anyone confirm or deny these rumours?

And PLEASE – do NOT identify which driver you’ve heard was drinking because we shall remove all such comments.

Thanks!

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

Barbados Bus Crash Injures 59 – Police Cannot Determine If Drivers Had Been Drinking

Were Transport Drivers Drinking Or Hung Over? Barbados Police Lack Breathaliser Equipment & Laws To Properly Investigate The Accident

Barbados Police Lack Breathaliser Equipment & Laws To Properly Investigate Road Accidents

Thompson DLP Government Continues BLP Policy Of Doing Nothing To Stop Drunk Driving

A major crash between two buses and an auto yesterday left dozens injured, and just like the other major bus and auto crashes during the past three years our Barbados police do not have the breathalizer equipment or laws that would show if any of the drivers had been drinking.

We lose more people to drunk driving than we do to murder, but after eleven months in office, the Thompson DLP Government has done nothing to address the serious problem that our country lacks enforceable, modern drunk-driving laws.

In practically every civilized jurisdiction in the world when there has been an accident and the police suspect the driver might have had even one beer, the driver has to blow into a breathalizer machine to prove how much alcohol is in his or her body. We know that some people can drink lots and not “look” like they are drunk, but they shouldn’t be driving. The breathalizer provides scientific evidence so there is no doubt.

Barbados Free Press has been calling for breathaliser laws and equipment for the police for almost three years now. In that time we have seen some horrible accidents and even mass fatal accidents – but our law enforcement officers have no way of testing to see how much those drivers had been drinking. Short of falling down drunk, there is no law against drinking and driving in Barbados.

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.

Back in July of this year, BFP said…

Prime Minister Thompson… time to act, Sir. If your government can’t implement breathalizer laws during the first year of your term, that will pretty well say everything about your priorities and leadership.

    Attorney General Stuart, Prime Minister Thompson, Transport Minister Boyce

Attorney General Stuart, Prime Minister Thompson, Transport Minister Boyce

Three Men Who Could Have Saved Lives In Barbados But Chose Not To

Prime Minister David Thompson, Attorney General Freundel Stuart and Minister of Transportation John Boyce did nothing in the past year to introduce breathalyzer laws and equipment to Barbados, or to stop the drunken slaughter on our roads every weekend that kills outright or cripples people for life and destroys faces, families and livelihoods.

They have no reasonable excuse for not doing so.

During the past year, they could have obtained already-crafted legislation from any number of sources, and purchased equipment and trained police officers as the legislation was being finalised. Six months, tops.

Civilized jurisdictions all over the world have amassed tens thousands of legal cases, trials, reports, and committees to develop modern laws, training and operational standards for the police and the courts. The breathaliser technology itself is now computerised, mass produced, more accurate and cheaper than it has ever been. Roadside screening units for uniform patrol officers can be had for a few hundred dollars. The laws in British common law countries are decades old… been through the Supreme Courts and back again.

All that is readily available if our government gave a damn.

Like the previous BLP Government, the Thompson DLP Government seems to have trouble actually making things happen. Lots of cheap talk, but no real achievements to make life better and safer for Bajans.

Further Reading

Nation Newspaper – 59 Injured In Bus Accident

CBC – Scores Injured In Bus Accident

BFP…

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

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Filed under Barbados