Recklessness on the Roads

A Sutherland “Holmwood Weeps- Four students dead, several injured in accident” The Jamaica Observer (Kingston, Jamaica 26 September 2013)

It has become an all too common problem in the Jamaican society; irresponsible bus drivers who take the charge of transporting the young and promising youth of the Jamaican society in an all too reckless manner. One can wonder why these drivers target these young, unsuspecting students who would probably be more susceptible to injury and later death in the event of a crash. The answer is a simple one really. Children, specifically students help these conductors and drivers to generate more income because of their need to travel to and from school on a daily basis. In addition to this, there are more students travelling than adults due to the current economic crisis in Jamaica.

The recent tragic events of the bus crash that claimed the lives of four young Holmwood Technical students on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 has brought this issue to the forefront once more. Once again the all too relevant questions will arise: Why were these drivers who amassed over 100 tickets allowed to transport children, much less be on the road? When will the proper regulation of these vehicles occur? Why don’t they set up a regulated bus system system in the rural areas? There are a myriad of answers that can be offered for these questions but that is not what is going to take place at this moment. The questions to be answered now are the possible sanctions to be put in place to regulate these problems and also the punishment for the liability of these drivers/conductors.

The reckless and careless death of innocent students has happened too many times for the justice system and parliament to remain silent. Truthfully, the majority of these drivers who get into these crashes have had their fair brushes with the law; as in the case with this driver who had 150 tickets to his name. To prevent this from occurring again the government, in conjunction with the justice system and police force need to legislate and enforce new laws against public passenger drivers. These laws should suspend the licenses and documents of these drivers for a stipulated amount of time if they get more than 10 tickets within a given time period, for example, three months. To prevent these drivers from accessing other vehicles and putting the lives of others in danger these drivers should either be detained and rehabilitated, i.e.- taught and later demonstrate the relevant laws of driving before being allowed back on the Jamaican roads.

In addition to this, any driver of a public passenger carrier vehicle should be required to go through rigourous tests and training before given the documents and qualification to perform this job. This test should be repeated every quarter or at least every year to ensure that the drivers charged with transporting the lives of our nation are the best drivers that can be possibly used.

Now to the cruel drivers that caused the death of yet another set of innocent children. What should become of them? It is obvious that they should be charged with the reckless endangerment of the passengers on their vehicle and the deaths of the four students from Holmwood Technical; well at least in my opinion. Others could question whether these drivers are liable for the deaths of these children due to the fact that they chose to enter this bus despite the various advertisements that say to avoid these vehicles. This argument could go on until infinity but in my mind, the fact still remains that if an individual takes up the charge of transporting individuals to and from their destinations, the utmost care and caution should be taken because lives are at stake. Anyone who makes the conscious choice to transport humans should be severely punished if their driving or operating of the vehicles is found to be reckless. They should also be held strictly liable for the death and injury of any passenger in their care, whether or not it was their intention for this to happen. This, in my opinion is the only way that these public passenger drivers will take their role in the society more seriously.

The conversation about the proper punishment and laws to be put in place with regards to the events that took place on Thursday, September 25, 2013 is one that can happen ad infinitum but we need to move past the place of discussion. There must be a move by the government and society for solution and the enactment and enforcement of laws that will benefit the entire society on a whole. My condolences go out to the family, friends and school community that had to deal with this loss yet again and I pray that the souls of those four youths rest in peace. 

Camilla Parris-Campbell


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