Hit those wild drivers very hard
The time has come for motorists who drive dangerously on the nation's roads to be held accountable for their actions and feel the full brunt of the law.
The legislation is clear. According to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50 section 71(1) any person who causes the death of another person by driving a vehicle dangerously on a road, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years. In addition, section 71A.(1) of the Act states that a person who drives a motor vehicle dangerously on a road commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for five years.
Moreover, according to section 71B.(1) of the Act, for the purposes of sections 71 and 71A, a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if the way in which he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous. The Act further states according to section 71B.(2), that a person is also to be regarded as driving dangerously for the purposes of sections 71 and 71A if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous. In determining the state of a vehicle, regard may be had to anything attached to or carried on or in it and to the manner in which it is attached or carried.
Whilst the legislation is clear as it relates to the offence of dangerous driving, it would be useless unless it is effectively enforced. There is no doubt in my mind that members of the police service are familiar with the legislation and are adequately trained in proper procedure and protocol to deal with incidents of road accidents. The police officers merely have to discharge their duties to effectively enforce the legislation. Once the police lay a proper charge and there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the DPP should proceed with prosecuting the matter before the courts.
According to Angela Francke, German transportation psychologist from the University of Dresden, in an article written by Rashanda Mc Kenna, "the problem of road accidents is due to the fact that road safety is not taken seriously by most drivers in T&T." There are a number of organisations that have programmes in place to educate Trinis about the importance of road safety, yet Trinidadians refuse to take them seriously. As a result the carnage on the roads continues.
The law must be enforced to protect the wider community from dangerous and lawless driving by inconsiderate and irresponsible motorists. Careless drivers who are unable to obey the traffic laws and drive in a responsible manner should do the nation a favour by leaving their vehicles at home and proceeding to travel on bus.