Black Immigrant Daily News
While disclosing that children are illegally driving vehicles locally, Transport and Mining Minister, Audley Shaw, is vowing to put an end to the long-time illegal practice of persons purchasing their driver’s licences.
“We have an unfortunate situation in our country right now, where some people are buying their licences. They’re not taking a test for the driver’s licences, they are buying it,” said Shaw.
“… And as minister of transport and mining, I am issuing a warning that it is going to end under my duty as minister of transport,” he declared.
The commitment from Shaw was greeted with loud applause among those gathered at Friday’s official launch of York Castle High School’s driver education programme in St Ann.
In elaborating, Shaw said: “It (the illegal buying of driver’s licences) is going to end, because that is part of the problem why so many accidents on the road, and so many deaths on the roads.”
The minister noted that in 2022, some 488 people died from road crashes.
Statistics from the Road Safety Unit (RSU) in the Transport Ministry have revealed that young people up to the age of 29 accounted for 170 of the deaths, the highest figure of any age cohort.
According to Shaw, excessive speeding, along with little to no regard for the road environment, are considered to be among the main factors behind fatal crashes in the particular age group.
Surprisingly, minors are also operating motor vehicles locally, said Shaw.
This practice, he said, is also contributing to road crashes.
“We see in cases where children have been driving and becoming involved in road crashes as well.
“When we look at the ages, these children do not meet the requirements for even acquiring a learner’s permit, and therefore, were not in position of such,” he said.
“These children had no business operating a motor vehicle on the road network,” stated the minister.
The driver education programme that was launched at York Castle High is timely, as it forms part of the overall efforts to reduce the number of road fatalities among the youth in St Ann.
The programme, which was initially introduced nine years ago, is being expanded with the support of the Ministry of Transport and Mining and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA).
Principal of York Castle High, Raymond Treasure, disclosed that the programme was crafted to, among other things, ensure that graduates are exposed to such perceived critical life skills.
“Our driver education programme, which was first introduced in 2014, was developed to better prepare our graduates to operate motor vehicles competently and safely on the roads,” he said.
The educator expressed his hope that the initiative will pave the way for the “full rollout” of similar driver education programmes in all secondary schools.
“All of us aspire to build a house and to drive a car one day, and it is my view that the school system should provide citizens with the skills and the competence to operate safely on the road,” stated Treasure.