The Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Driving Schools has defended driving schools and blamed indiscipline for a surge in road accidents.
Kingson Jean observed that NADS has recently noted a steady increase in road collisions daily.
As a result, Jean reminded road users that safety is their responsibility although the government, the police, and driving instructors have their role.
“Many people share the view that driving instructors are at fault for the conduct of drivers on the road,” the NADS official said in a statement to St Lucia Times.
However Jean observed that people receive a driver’s license after satisfactorily demonstrating to the Ministry of Transport that they can control a motor vehicle in a safe, responsible, and competent manner.
He explained that to ascertain whether someone meets the minimum requirements, the well-qualified driving examiners use a criteria form prepared by the United Kingdom-based Driver & Vehicles Standards Agency.
“During a practical exam, the driving examiners in Saint Lucia use the exact criteria as their counterparts in the UK. Hence the driving instructions given to learners by instructors be it in St Lucia or the UK are indistinguishable,” the NADS PRO disclosed.
“The problem with our society is that it is plagued with indisciplined people. Learners drive as they have been taught so they can obtain a driver’s license. Once that is done, good sense flies out the window of those irresponsible drivers,” he lamented.
“They no longer adhere to traffic rules and regulations. No longer do they stop at stop signs. They forget to use the indicators. Some bus drivers overtake on the left at high speeds. And the list goes on.”
According to the NADS official, as others see their peers get away with recklessness, they copy that behaviour.
In this regard, Jean told St Lucia Times that law enforcers have agreed to implement a demerit system to penalise traffic law violators.
He said the violators would lose points which could lead to a suspension or revocation of their license.
“This is expected to bring about a change in drivers’ attitude,” he explained.
Jean revealed that the demerit system is already in Saint Lucia’s Traffic Act.
But he said the computerised system linking the police, the courts, and the Ministry of Transport needs to be synchronised.