- A Summary of Response to the Road Traffic (Road Sobriety Checkpoints) Amendment Act 2018 by One Bermuda Alliance MP & Former Premier Michael Dunkley, in the House of Assembly on Friday, July 6, 2018
Today, in the House of Assembly, I was pleased to speak and support this Bill.
The One Bermuda Alliance supports making our roads safer.
The OBA supports education and programs like the Piece of the Rock and Drive for Change.
The OBA will support Operation Caution.
The OBA supports enforcement of laws.
The OBA supports the Bermuda Police Service in carrying out their responsibility.
Currently, driving habits on our roads are very poor to say the least. In addition, drinking and driving is a very serious issue for Bermuda. When you couple that with the fact that in Bermuda, alcohol consumption is at a high level, and has many negative consequences, we need to take whatever steps we can to change the carnage.
This legislation can help.
However, it is also our responsibility to not let our family and friends drink and drive. I suggest we have a personal responsibility to do better as too often we turn a blind eye. We must change the “culture” that it is okay to drink and drive. We must not joke about it or turn a blind eye.
So while this legislation is a step forward, there are some questions and issues to raise.
UK legislation to combat drinking and driving has been successful. Why have we not more closely aligned ours with theirs?
The steps required to obtain permission to conduct a road sobriety checkpoint could become cumbersome.
There are those who support road sobriety checkpoints and there are those who do not- they ask why notify people? Some also say that since we have section 315F which allows a stop and search anytime – why do we not get stricter on drinking and driving?
Why, since we have relaxed drug laws, and driving while under the influence of drugs is also a problem, are we not also testing for drugs? Other jurisdictions do and we should as well.
What budget has been allocated to this new initiative? It was not announced in the budget and has not been mentioned in the brief presented by the Minister. Without a budget it will not work. Equipment is required and training is required.
Currently, only the police doctor can take blood. This causes issues as there is only one. Why not take this opportunity while we are changing legislation to expand those who are qualified; we have many well qualified phlebotomists currently registered and it makes sense to allow them to do it when needed.
Finally, I noted that the Bermuda Police Service was not at the press conference during which Operation Caution was launched. Perhaps this was an oversight but we need all hands on deck to change the drinking and driving culture and to make our roads safer.
The Hon Michael H Dunkley JP, MP