Column: DUI, Roadside Checks, Notice & More

December 12, 2021 | 7 Comments

Michael Dunkley generic 2019 fdwefq thumb[Opinion column written by OBA MP Michael Dunkley]

Recently, Transport Minister Lawrence Scott ruled out roadside breath tests without warning and said, “The reason that we have the advertisement is to be proactive- we don’t want to be punitive.” Say what!

We need to be serious about drunk driving!

Currently general driving standards are terrible in so many areas; it is dangerous to drive on our roads due to speeding. Inattention is rampant: using cell phones while driving, not stopping at lights or stop signs is commonplace and too many drink too much and then drive. The deteriorating conditions on the roads are a real and pressing concern.

Sadly, the death toll on our roads remains at a high level with 16 fatalities this year to date which continues a very high trend from past years.

My experience as a former Minister of National Security shows that historically a significant number of road fatalities involved drinking and driving. We must take this scourge seriously and warning people that roadside testing will take place must discontinue.

The One Bermuda Alliance supports Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell and the BPS in his belief that not announcing checkpoints would make the legislation more effective.

Why notify people who are breaking the law and endangering other road users and themselves? What other countries take such a soft approach to a serious matter?

History has shown that drunk drivers have caused destruction and death! Lives have been ruined, families have been shattered and in spite of this, drinking too much and then driving remains all too frequent!

We support roadside testing and commend the government for passing the legislation but not advertising when it will happen is problematic.

Should the BPS advertise when they will be conducting speed checks? Should they advertise when and where police patrols will be? Of course not, so let’s take drunk driving seriously and allow the BPS to set up random roadside checkpoints when they deem appropriate.

- Michael Dunkley

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Comments (7)

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  1. Curious says:

    Since when does the Government have the power to interfere with police operations? They certainly hold the purse strings but I thought that the Governor was responsible for operational matters.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      The police act under the current legislation / law. That’s in the hands of the PLP.

  2. SMH says:

    When I read Minister Scott’s statement I was dumbfounded. Drunk driving kills. This law requiring advertising is asinine. We will be in Paget, Devonshire and Smiths, so drink and drive in all of the other Parishes!

    Punitive, I sure hope so, for making such a ludicrous statement! If that is his attitude, he has been assigned the wrong Ministry.

    I actually read the article twice, I thought he didn’t actually say that did he? But he did.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    There are 2 questions to be asked here,

    First, what segment of the population is likely to be caught by checkpoints limited to the central parishes?

    Second, does our Constitution allow for random stop and seizure?

  4. The Truth says:

    The author of this article and the officer he is referring to are both being a bit dishonest in their assessment of this situation. The legislation is based on similar jurisdictions and their laws. In all those jurisdictions, they are required to get notification of the checks. This is done to alter the driving behaviour and change the driving culture, not to catch drunk drivers. This was the original intent of the legislation and Inspector Cardwell knows this as he was involved in the formation of the law. The question now is why would he forget the original intent? Just something to think about, I say…

    • sandgrownan says:

      They are random in the UK.

    • JAYBIRD says:

      Drunk driving is bad, but as Dunkley points out, just one of the many outrageous examples of dangerous driving on Bermuda roads. What we need are more cops on the streets, better management of roadside overgrowth, better maintenance of Bermuda’s roads and a Government and Governor that give a damn about any of these things…

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