…Hefty fines not enough says Arrive Alive head
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Although hefty fines are imposed by local courts for driving under the influence of alcohol, Arrive Alive president Sharon Inglefield says fines alone are not enough to deter errant drivers.
However, Inglefield said a recent push to educate drivers who face the court on drunk driving charges by local magistrates, may be the way to curb the carnage on T&T’s roadways.
In an interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Inglefield said for the past two years local magistrates have been following a precedent set by lawmakers in the United Kingdom to educate drivers on the dangers of drunk driving.
“The fines alone are not good enough, people need to be made aware of the choices they make that can change their lives,” she added.
She praised the initiative, which she says has already benefited hundreds of offenders.
“Magistrates have realised the importance of education and awareness and we are trying to emulate what is tried, tested and proven to work in the UK.
“The drivers are given a brief of a defensive driving course and are taught the dangers of drunk driving,” she said.
Inglefield called on Government to revamp the licensing authority, saying the current system was archaic.
She said: “We need a total revamp of our archaic licensing authority. We need to get rid of those multiple choice questions and focus on educating drivers about defensive driving.
“There also need to be educational programmes in schools that teach our youngsters about road safety before they go out on the road.”
11 in court for being over limit
In the San Fernando Traffic Court yesterday, Magistrate Sherene Murray-Bailey advised 11 first-time drunk drivers to attend Arrive Alive’s programme.
Among them was Navindra Moonoo, a young father who said he was out celebrating the birth of his baby boy when he was arrested.
Murray-Bailey chastised Moonoo, who was 48 microgrammes over the legal alcohol limit. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
She told him while the court could not mandate him to attend the sessions, if he did go, she would consider it when he was sentenced.
According to the charge read to him, around 3.55 am on July 12, he was stopped by officers conducting a Road Traffic Exercise along Rahaman Drive, La Romaine.
The officer who was speaking to Moonoo detected a strong scent of alcohol on his breath and questioned him about it.
Moonoo, a landscaper, said he also has a two-year-old daughter.
Moonoo was given his own bail in the sum of $10,000 and told to return to court on July 31 for further mitigation and sentencing.