Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By Rashad Rolle
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the government will increase penalties for killing in the course of dangerous driving.
The US cited traffic fatalities as a major concern in an advisory this week, noting there was a 29 percent increase in traffic-related deaths from 2017 to 2018.
Dr Minnis said the advisory was “coincidental” as he has already told Cabinet ministers “fines must be more harsh than what we’re seeing”.
“Vehicular manslaughter, we must look at that because it’s insulting for individuals who have been knocked or hit and suffer when they die and it’s just basically a slap on the wrist (for the perpetrators),” he said. “I think the fines need to be a lot more harsh. I’ve spoken to the Law Reform commissioner and asked her to look at traffic fines, violations, etc, so we could have proper legislation to deal with ordinary society.”
Currently, people who kill in the course of dangerous driving pay a maximum fine of $10,000, a vexing fact for many.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames echoed Dr Minnis’ view.
He said: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak to families who would’ve lost a loved one who has been struck by a careless driver only to find out at the end of the day that many of these persons are still walking the streets as if nothing happened. We have to look at how we can bring some balance there. As you can see, the amount of traffic accidents, it’s crazy.
“We should not be having that much on an island that is seven by 21. There are a lot of reckless drivers. That’s why we introduced the law with cell phones and we are looking at breathalyzers because it’s on the books. You have a lot of people sitting behind the wheels of these vehicles who are plastered. Taking a life is a serious thing and you have helpless people out there who can tell you stories of loved ones who are gone and persons who have been responsible for their deaths are still walking the streets as if nothing happened.”