Ben Buntipilly: "Some Drivers Know that their Driving is Unsatisfactory"
26 February 2013 - The Défi Media Group
At one month of the entry into force of penalty points, some rise to the plate and provide even protest. However, Ben Buntipilly, Special Advisor on Road Safety Office of the Prime Minister maintains that the country is ready for such a system.
> The license points shall enter into force on 1 April, but professional drivers say they have not been consulted. They manifest this Tuesday. Your reaction?
Maybe some have not grasped the scope of license points system. However, there are also others who refuse to understand. There have been concerns in all countries where this system has been introduced, but the results are inconclusive. The penalty points was introduced in France in 1992. A study conducted a few years later, shows that the number of people affected is only 0.2%. The system works and the number of accidents has fallen by half. In Mauritius, I'd say that some drivers are afraid because they know that their driving is poor.
For the authorities, one thing is clear - and the Prime Minister pointed out - there will not be a situation of two weights, two measures. I go further. In its judgment against a bus driver, a judge of the Supreme Court argued that professional drivers, especially those trucks have a greater responsibility and they should not expect to be treated less severely than others. He adds that the period of disqualification professional drivers who have sinned must be long enough to give them time to think about those who, through their own fault, can never drive or walk on our roads.
> For these professional drivers, the country is not yet ready for a system. They argue, for example, that the facilities are not appropriate. What do you say?
Is that the country is ready to save 150 lives on our roads every year? Moreover, how is it that these drivers know they should behave on the road when they travel abroad? I must say that the new roads are built according to international standards. The authorities are also required to correct imperfections, such as defective panels or road markings that have outlived their usefulness. Moreover, the Police Commissioner has made a formal request to all Divisional Commanders for they report failures on our roads. These will be forwarded to me and I'll coordinate with relevant authorities to ensure that corrective action is taken before April 1.
> You said that maybe some have not grasped the scope of license points system. Could you be more specific?
The penalty points system includes three aspects. The first is the deterrent. Motorists are asked to be more conscientious. If a driver continues to demonstrate bad behaviour on the road, it is he who runs the risk of accumulating penalty points. Which brings us to the second aspect that I call the selection. In fact, it is the driver himself, that self-selects, by his bad behaviour, for disqualification because he is a danger to himself and other innocent people. And of course, the third aspect is rehabilitation.
> Tell us more about this rehabilitation?
For a driver surpasses 15 points, there's a reason. That is to say that his behaviour on the road requires revision. A person may know how to drive and pass the test, but on the other hand, the driving behaviour can be poor. We can not only improve the driving behaviour. This is why the permit is just suspended for a minimum period of six months and not withdrawn the first time a driver reaches 16 points. When this driver is removed from the circulation, receiving training so that his attitude changes when the driving license suspension is lifted. This applies to all motorists alike.
> How will this training?
People might think that the authorities want to make money, but this is not the case. It is a well-functioning system. In each sector, including the taxis, buses and trucks, among others, will be delegated trainers for training provided by trainers Mauritius Institute of Training and Development. These people will eventually responsible for training drivers in their industry not only because they have lost their licenses, but an on-going basis.
> But what is it exactly about those whose licenses have been suspended?
Take, for example, the area of transportation, including bus drivers. The trainer, who has been trained by the MITD, will certainly find the opportunity to train a driver whose license has been suspended. And this training will be disqualified without the driver having to pay. We want motorists to understand that we offer them the opportunity to take the wheel.
> Professional drivers highlight the fact that their livelihood is threatened with the appearance of disqualification and suspension of driver's license ...
This is not the first time that professional drivers will have their license be suspended or revoked. Disqualification and revocation of license exist under the Road Traffic Act. Currently, the absence of an insurance of a vehicle can lead to the revocation of the license. Do not forget the number of professional drivers who are singled out for drinking and driving. According to the law, recidivism for drunk driving can lead to imprisonment. Instead, the Road Traffic Act does not provide coaching and training for drivers disqualified and this is now possible. These drivers must be responsible. It is high time that the demerit point enters into force. However, I must stress that this training is not mandatory at this time.
> But you do not talk about the appearance of livelihood ...
We have received representations from certain bodies and certain organizations that suggest the possibility of granting an allowance to drivers disqualified while they follow training before getting their license. We planned training, but we can not sustain demand for allocation. If we did that, the system of penalty points would be more of a deterrent and not give the expected results. A disqualified driver must feel deprived. It would be too easy to grant an allowance during training. Some might recur regardless of their responsibilities as they would then be provided an allowance during the period of license suspension.
> The failure of a vehicle can lead to penalty points. One example cited by motorists, it is a fire which releases on the way ...
Should we mention the case of two motorcyclists who were embedded in a truck without lanterns La-Vigie? Or the number of motorcyclists who are broke because drivers do not see them. Without illumination, an accident can happen in a split second.
What does it cost to have a spare bulb with you?