Head of Traffic Division Calls for Review of Road Licensing System

Head of the Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Elan Powell, has called for a review of the system by which road licences are issued for the operation of public passenger vehicles (PPV), to reduce the number of incompetent drivers on the roads.
Speaking at the launch of the Road Safety Unit’s Defensive Driving Media and Public Education campaign at the Hilton Kingston hotel on November 6, SSP Powell noted that “some fundamental issues need to be looked at before we start to look at defensive driving.”
Decrying the havoc being created by incompetent drivers, who are taking lives on the island’s roadways, he noted that, “far too many drivers are hustlers and have no skills or experience. I believe it is too easy to get a driver’s licence. It’s either the regulations are too low or something else. I want us to look at the level of skills people have,” he stated.
Recommending that the Traffic Authority impose more stringent qualification standards for first time licensees, he said that “no one should be issued with a PPV licence or trailer licence as a first licence unless the candidate has two years driving experience. No trailer licence should be issued before it is established that you have been driving for at least two years.”
In the meantime, President of the Jamaica Automobile Association, Alan Beckford, urged that the government utilize available technology to help contain the spiral of road accidents and fatalities, including a braking system called Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which prevents drivers from skidding on the road.
Stating that the technology is being used worldwide, he suggested that the government “reduce the duty on this product, so that all cars could be retrofitted” with the device.
“We are asking that you look at it,” Mr. Beckford appealed. “See if this is something that can work in Jamaica. If we can reduce the amount of collisions on the road, the savings are tremendous,” he pointed out.
The Drive for Life programme will convey defensive driving principles and safety measures and target frequent road users over the next four months through workshops and a media campaign.
As part of the campaign, one-day workshops will be held in Old Harbour, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Savanna-la-mar, which will focus on the rudiments of defensive driving.
Some 278 road fatalities have been reported since the start of the year.

JIS Social