Can someone please explain why there is such a delay in introducing measures in Bermuda that exist in countless other countries?
A story was published in the RG today from an interview with Transport Minister Michael Fahy. Part of it said:
Meanwhile, he confirmed that the introduction of handheld breathalysers for officers was being looked at as part of a cross-ministry initiative with the Ministry of National Security and the Bermuda Police Service.
Now compare that to this story published in the RG just over two years ago where it says:
Speaking in the House of Assembly this morning, Mr Crockwell said that a working group of agencies have reviewed legislation and schemes in place in other countries, and identified an appropriate testing device to be used on the Island.
Mr Crockwell said: “The working group proposed that the following three legislative amendments to the Motor Car Act 1951 could be implemented in the short term which would have the greatest impact on our roads to sustain life; amend the legislation to allow ‘test before arrest’ for roadside breathalysers, amend to create provisions on preliminary breath testing and amend to provide an approved instrument order so the proposed breathalyser may be used by the police to administer preliminary testing.
In the RG story, Mr Fahy is quoted as saying:
Mr Fahy said that sobriety check points were still being looked at, but acknowledged there had been some “constitutional issues”.
Now go back two years ago, to Mr Crockwell’s story:
“However, through further consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chamber and consideration of constitutional issues related to ‘testing before arrest’, roadside sobriety testing will be introduced as an alternative substantive testing method to the existing testing that is administered at the Hamilton Police Station.
“The selected handheld testing device is the Drager Alcotest 7510 unit and the unit has to be capable of being used as evidence in court. Therefore, the Transport Control Department is making the necessary arrangement for the manufacture to provide local demonstrations on the use of the unit and verification on its suitability for the intended purposes.
It goes on:
“The introduction of the hand-held testing unit will not require legislative amendments and once we have completed the verification of the unit and it is deemed acceptable by the Bermuda Police Service, we will lay an order approving the said instrument and if there are no identified issue we intend to lay the order in May 2015.
In other words, the choice of breathalyzer was made two years ago; there was acknowledgement two years ago of constitutional issues and two years ago, it was anticipated that an order approving the device would be laid.
So why do we appear to be back to square one? The apparent lack of urgency and/or political will is, well, appalling.
Then there is also this little gem in the RG story today:
Mr Fahy said that one avenue being explored currently and by the previous government is a system where the location of the police checks is announced publicly with notice that every seventh car or so will be stopped.
Yes, you read it right … being explored by this and the previous Government.
The OBA was elected four years ago last December. It is not known how long the previous Government was looking at the frequency of police checks, but does it matter?
The message is pretty clear. The cavalier attitude to drinking and driving and road behavior is simply not a priority.
Meanwhile, how many people are taken to hospital for treatment?