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Traffic crackdown to be extended

Crackdown continues: Police road safety campaign Operation Vega scheduled to continue for another three months, Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley says (File photograph)

A police crackdown on road offences is in line to be extended for another three months, Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley revealed yesterday.

Mr Corbishley added Operation Vega, launched in July, could also be boosted by an increase in fines for traffic offences.

He said: “I’ll be seeking to extend Operation Vega.

“As an all-service operation it is challenging on our resources, but it remains a strategic priority for the Bermuda Police Service.

“I will look to extend it by three months and then review it again.”

Mr Corbishley was speaking after a meeting with Lawrence Scott, the transport minister, last month to discuss ways to improve safety on the roads.

He said Mr Scott agreed to consider a review of fixed penalty fines to ensure they reflected the seriousness of offences and were a good deterrent.

Mr Corbishley said changes could come into effect as soon as April next year.

He added: “We have legislation with quite low penalties – running a red light carries a fine of $50 while failing to stop for a police officer carries a $100 fine.

Mr Corbishley asked: “How much does that place on someone to think again?

He said: “I am not advocating for draconian changes – I believe we shouldn’t go around thinking punishing people will change behaviour.

“But it should be an amount that makes you think twice and reflects the danger the offence presents.

“To drive is not a right it is a privilege and if you abuse the rules you should be held accountable.”

He added: “The minister and I are keen we maintain an enforcement agenda and we look towards the end of financial year to make changes to penalties that people might face.

“We need a framework that may include a fine or disqualification but we are also keen on restorative solutions such as the implementation of educational programmes.

“The UK is a good example whereby if you speed excessively, you go on a course and understand the consequences.

“It gets people to see the impact that their actions have on people’s lives. We already have this in place for DUI offences.”

Mr Corbishley said Mr Scott agreed they should meet the Bermuda Road Safety Council, headed by Dennis Lister III, who is also a Government MP, to ensure a “joined up approach”.

Mr Corbishley earlier announced he was against the publication of details of roadside breath test checkpoints and that he had raised the possibility of a change in policy with Mr Scott.

He added: “By advertising where testing takes place we are notifying people how to avoid being caught.

“It was agreed that this will be discussed within the conduit of the Bermuda Road Safety Council.”

Mr Corbishley said that the introduction of speed cameras was also raised at the meeting as well as a review of the 35km/h speed limit.

He added: “I think there is a shared national concern with the poor standards of driving on our roads which appears to have increased since lockdown.

“We saw many incidences of speeding and other concerning behaviours.

“Social media is awash with comments and videos of careless, antisocial and dangerous riding and driving.

“Our response has been Operation Vega which has focused on a law enforcement agenda.

“We are doing this in partnership with the courts, which have extended the number of hours available to deal with traffic matters in court.

“That focus continues to go forward.”

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Published August 12, 2021 at 7:46 pm (Updated August 12, 2021 at 7:46 pm)

Traffic crackdown to be extended

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