Minister of Transport Michael Lashley (right) after he went for a spin on the track with Orry Hunte from the team at Bushy Park yesterday. (Picture by Nigel Browne.)
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Road traffic offenders could soon find themselves back at school.
If Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley has his way, magistrates will be empowered to include a prescribed period at a driving academy to offenders’ sentence.
Speaking at the launch of the Massy United Driving Skills Academy at its Bushy Park, St Philip base yesterday morning, he said the recommendation was included in a proposal, which recently came to the ministry, and he fully endorsed it.
“It doesn’t make sense slapping a fine on them [or] sending them to prison. But you have to give them some part of the sentence that they go back out there, and they come and spend at least five or six months within this academy or some other academy. After that, once they satisfy that they are fit to go back on the road, then we would accept that. That is, I believe, the way forward in terms of road safety,” he said.
Lashley, an attorney at law, said the magistrates could make attendance at a driving skills academy part of community service sentencing.
“We can start it that way. But probably it might be a better fit if we place it within the Road Traffic Act, so that you have it expressly stated under the existing law,” he said.
Lashley pointed out that magistrates could suspend and disqualify drivers’ licences under the act as well. He said suspension of the person’s licence, while at the academy, could also come into play.
“If you are sending someone to a driving skills academy, you don’t want them on the road; so I think the thing speaks for itself . . . . You don’t want them on the road at all. You want them in the driving skills academy rehabilitating and reforming themselves as a road user, so that we can save lives.”
He commended the people at Bushy Park and Massy United Insurance for the initiative, which aims at improving road safety and reducing the incidence of road collisions.
The island has recorded 27 road deaths so far for the year, the latest being last Sunday morning. Lashley noted that every fatality was an avoidable death. (YB)