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
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.
Nation Newspaper – 59 Injured In Bus Accident
CBC – Scores Injured In Bus Accident
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