President of the T&T Road Safety Council Stan Huggins believes the Ministry of Works and Transport erred when it implemented the Demerit Points System in May last year.
Huggins said the public should have been properly educated on road traffic regulations before this was done
“Any school teacher would tell you that if I don’t show you the atraumatic I can’t punish you,” he said.
“What we do we punishing without education,” he added.
The Demerit Points System was created to track the behaviour of drivers by the allocation of points to their driving records.
Each driver starts at zero but a person can accumulate demerit points on their driving permit record for breach of certain traffic violations and offences such as speeding.
Huggins said this was an issue he raised with the ministry before the Demerit Points System started but said he was ignored. He also criticised relevant stakeholders for not speaking up sooner.
“That is why I am saying that the driving schools, the Maxi Taxi Association should have before all that become law should have approached the minister… they didn’t do it,” he said
“Now they into something they don’t know nothing about, “he said.
Apart from lack of education for drivers he noted there are many issues with the roads such as poor road markings and signage that should have been rectified before the points system was implementation.
He believes many uneducated drivers losing their license to this system.
It’s for these reasons, Huggins took it upon himself to do a training session with drive instructors from across the country, he started with Port- of- Spain yesterday.
Huggins said there are 150 driving schools in this country and approximate 35 in the capital city.
He said in this country once someone has their driver’s license for three years and has the experience they can open a school. He believes this can be problematic.
“An educated driver is a better driver, we bring them here and put them on one page” he said.
Huggins said instructors have to emphasize the danger that comes from drunk driving during sessions and teach them road courtesy as he believes too many young people are dying on the nations roads.
Last year, 77 road traffic accident that left 83 dead.
Driving instructor for 40 years Yussuff Ali said he doesn’t believe the Points System was prematurely introduced to the public.
He said it’s needed, however, but points should not be deducted for some offences like speeding.
“Somebody might just be above the speed limit,” he said.
Last month, TTPS Road Safety Coordinator Brent Batson said close to 1000 people were on the verge of losing their license while more than 60 already did.
In a three- year period, if a driver has 10 or more offences but less that 14 they lose their license for six months.
Fourteen more but less than 20, suspension for one year and 20 or more two years.