Draft Bill proposes to deal forcefully with abandoned vehicles on the highway

Those selling vehicles and in the habit of parking them on the highways of this country in an effort to attract interest, will soon have to think twice about doing that.

That is according to Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley. He spoke to this in a recent interview with The Barbados Advocate as he revealed some of the issues that are expected to be addressed in the amendments being made to the Road Traffic Act. His comments came as he reiterated that the changes to that piece of legislation are much closer to becoming the law, and he said that in the lead up to bringing the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill to the House of Assembly for approval and thereafter, they intend to conduct a systematic public awareness campaign so as to ensure that all citizens and residents of this country know the new dos and don’ts.

According to the Transport and Works Minister, the draft Bill proposes to deal forcefully with abandoned vehicles on the highway, which pose a hazard to other road users. He said that where a vehicle is parked on the highway for a period of 24 hours, it will be considered abandoned and can be removed. He added that a cost will be attached to removing the vehicles, which will be borne by the owner. Moreover, he revealed that for every day the vehicle is kept by the State, there will be a $100 charged to the owner.

His comments came as he indicated that the proposed legislation also seeks to address littering on the highways and while not going into detail, he said stiff penalties will be put in place to impose on those who engage in this very practice, which he lamented not only poses a threat to the health of the people in this country, but the environment as well.

Meanwhile, responding to calls from some operators of public service vehicles (PSV) to be allowed to set passengers down at points other than bus stops, Minister Lashley said that after careful consideration it has been decided that this is not the route to go. He explained that while he understood the rationale behind the representation made to his Ministry by the PSV operators, particularly given the fines charged for that offence, setting persons down at points other than bus stops presented a “serious hazard”.

“If you stop in the middle of the road to let off a passenger you create a hazard and that can ultimately result in serious injury, or worse yet, death to the person you are setting down. So I think there is need to strictly adhere to the law and for PSVs to set down passengers at the bus stops provided. So I am not entertaining any amendment to change the law to set down passengers anywhere else, there has to be order and discipline on the road,” he stated.

While ruling out the possibility of changing that aspect of the law, the Minister said he was willing to have his ministry, where possible, erect additional bus stops. This, he said, would ensure that there was not a long distance between bus stops along routes. (JRT)

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