To the Editor:
In this week’s Tradewinds we’ve read about two police decisions that, especially when seen together, make no apparent sense.
We see an elderly couple fined $1,000 for stopping in a handicapped space and then forced to pay the $1,000 fine immediately to the owner of the rental vehicle they were driving, because tickets for infractions are issued not the the driver but to the owner of the offending vehicle. At some later date, we assume the owner of the rental vehicle will pass that $1,000 on to the Territorial Court.
Compare that to the case of the young driver of the fully loaded dump truck that plowed through Cruz Bay last week narrowly avoiding major catastrophe. The truck is one of a fleet of trucks from St. Thomas and is assumed to have suffered a major brake failure while careening down a steep heavily travelled road. In this case the entire blame and responsibility has been placed on the young driver, despite his having succeeded in stopping without causing serious damage. So here, we see the legal offense — faulty equipment — is attached to the driver of the vehicle rather than to its owner.
Mmm…a parking infraction stays with the car and its owner, not the driver, while an equipment failure infraction gets tagged on the driver, not the owner. Have I got that right??
I’m sure all of us whose lives are daily threatened by these massive vehicles swerving past us in our lanes have the same question.
How well and how often are these vehicles maintained?
How well and how often are their brakes inspected for safety by the Motor Vehicle Bureau?
How well are their drivers trained and tested?
How diligently are these drivers regulated on our roads by our police?
With curving narrow hilly roads, our small island is now overrun by these fleets of trucks, and as more and more big projects are begun, we can expect to see more of them. Let’s let our officials know they have a responsibility to monitor both the maintenance and the driving of these massive and potentially dangerous vehicles. Let’s hope that our police force is as diligent in protecting our safety on the roads as they appear to be in keeping people from stopping by the dock.
Name Withheld by Request