Six omnibuses checked by police over the past week are yet to produce their insurance certificates even as others have stayed off the road as police clamp down on uninsured vehicles.
Head of the Traffic Branch, Superintendent of Police Kenneth John, told I-Witness News on Thursday that traffic police will continue to be vigilant, as some of the buses checked had insurance certificates that were issued last Friday, when the checks began.
He further said that some of them were only valid for one month.
John further told I-Witness News that while the problem exists across St. Vincent, it is more prevalent on the windward side.
Police have begun to clamp down on uninsured vehicles, especially minivans, in the wake of a recent accident in Fountain involving three vans, two of which were uninsured.
Some 12 persons were injured in that accident.
John said driving an uninsured vehicle is a serious offence and anyone cause doing so will be prosecuted.
“So we are calling on all owners of omnibuses, ensure that your buses produce the insurance certificate to the Traffic Department or keep a copy of the insurance in your motor vehicle.”
He said that police officers began checking for insurance in Arnos Vale and some vans stayed off the road that morning.
John noted that first time offenders who drive an uninsured vehicle can be fined EC$750, spend six months in prison or be disqualified from holding a driver’s license for one year.
But he noted that if a passenger is injured in an uninsured vehicle, the passenger may have to sue the owner to get compensation
“And how many of the owners them have something to give them a compensation?” John said.
“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Argyle in 2009,” he said in reference to the Dec. 31, 2009 accident in which three people died when a minivan overturned.
The van was later found to be uninsured.
“We don’t want a repeat of Fountain Gap just months ago; we don’t want a repeat of where a child in Leeward was struck by a van and the van didn’t have insurance,” John further said.
“So we are calling on all omnibus owners to insure their vans. Insure your vans or we are going to take them off the road. … The driver and the owner will be charged,” John further said.
He further urged the public to be patient with police during the checks.
“It is for their own good and their children good. … As head of the Traffic Department, I am not going to sit aside and watch this go like that. I am going to do everything possible to ensure that every vehicle that goes on the road here, they must be licensed, and they must be insured,” John said.