Travelling in open back vehicles is hazardous and unlawful – traffic official

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Travelling in open back vehicles is hazardous and unlawful – traffic official
This image was captured by a concerned motorist at the Bonne Terre-Mochy gap in October 2013.
This image was captured by a concerned motorist at the Bonne Terre-Mochy gap in October 2013.

Sergeant of Police Leontius Joseph of the Central Traffic Department said persons in the habit of hitching a ride in open back vehicles should desist from this practice.

Joseph’s comment comes in light of a recent accident in which a man fell from a pickup in Babonneau and died five days later in hospital.

Joseph told St Lucia News Online (SNO) today, October 2, it is unlawful to have persons traveling at the back of vehicles without having proper security measures in place and seating arrangements.

“The law requires that when you have an open back vehicle like a truck, it is for the sole purpose of carrying goods and the use of the vehicle is for goods, and of course that is what it is intended for,” he explained.

However, Joseph advised that if drivers want to have persons riding at the back of their vehicles, provision must be made for that to happen.

“Permission must be granted from the Ministry of Infrastructure and would require the driver to put proper seats in place, before he or she can begin to transport persons in the back,” he explained.

The traffic official said persons engaging in such acts can be arrested and charged if required security measures are not in place, but noted however that the police force have expressed a level of leniency with persons over the years.

“We have used our discretion because persons in remote areas rely on such transport as a means to get home and we are most times lenient with persons depending on the circumstances. However, we have arrested a number of persons over the years,” he added.

Joseph said persons who are transporting people at the back of their vehicles should seek the advice of the authorities and ensure that it is done legally. He said it may be hazardous to life.

The most recent victim, Ernest Alexander, 39, also known as Oleon of Fond Assau, Babonneau, a father of two, passed away yesterday, October 1 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Victoria Hospital.

Alexander suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the pickup around 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27. The vehicle was heading to Cacoa from a funeral reception at the Babonneau Multi-Purpose Centre when Alexander fell.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. In as much as the police can be hypocrites, he made one statement that should be taken into consideration. If the driver wants people to ride in the back provision must be made. Have make shift seats or encourage the passengers to seat flat. A lot of people riding in the back seating at the edge of the van one leg out all kind of things. That is dangerous. Lucians don't like advice uh

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  2. There are several provisions of the law if given effect in our country and other less developed will seem absurd. This is why administrations tend to give full effect or leniency on some laws as to whether its beneficial-economic, social or otherwise. Laws are passed and are also given different dates for coming into full effect, take for example Freedom of Information Act, which has not been given effect.

    The policy of the wholesale destruction of marijuana in St. Lucia also comes to mind. Though on our books prior to the 1997 there was a relaxed attitude to its destruction since it was one of the main contributors to our local economy (don't mind what you were told, see John Compton speeches). Later there was a concerted effort to eradicate, whether it was a new policy agreed to with the US remains to be investigated.

    This is in keeping with the view that a law cannot be a law unto itself. It must be in pursuit of a positive aspect of the people to be governed by it. Once it does not fulfill this objective then it becomes oppressive. Little homework, could you recall some laws which would not fit this criteria and could be rendered oppressive?

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  3. Crazy! st. lucia i such a crazy place to live... mad and off i call.. so now what ! wilk they charge the driver? ignorance of the law is ni excuse they say..

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  4. Considering the economic hardships some of us face, I advocate for leniency in this matter. A reasonable guideline would be to ban riding at the back of open bed vehicles on major highways but allow the practice on feeder roads providing the occupants sit on the flooring and only at the discretion of the driver. The should also understand that he would assume full responsibility for any mishap.

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  5. FOR SLU TO COME CLASSE YOUR LL HAVE TO DO WORK SO MUCH YOU LL GOVERNEMENT..MQUE IS DOING IT BUT THEY HAVE A GOOD WAY OF THINKING OF THEIR TING!OPEN YOUR'LL EYES first on Lots of tings !helping da needy after calcul of what they Need and can't aford..put jobs ,free transportation just like when Election is around you ll put it free For you ll votes! Tink of all dat many ways to prevent suicides etc!people get stress out with bad living they kill they selves so then we go see how da homicides suicides accident go work! Eh forget!!

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  6. Yeah!but before that ting we need good gorvernment first,then employment..then help by giving poor pple good asistance,and by helping all those who can't deal wit it, transpotation..in someway or the other help the citizens to buy their car for those who can t aford..lets get to work [email protected] come wit your law..i eh have problem wit it!

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  7. St.lucia is a developing country..like the cousin of the deceased said "The law is the law."St.lucia please notice when u in Martinique..This Law has been there so many many years ago..n the french is respecting it cause its above the law of France..those vehicles was not made for that..and if they have stoped it ..i guess it was for the protection of humans..Nb..we all have to di;,but sometimes we are responsible for our own deaths..Slu ppl..we are a developing country..what's wrong with that!?

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  8. It's so unbelievable to blame it on the law when it's such a simple understanding of the danger behind it all... Simply to say workers do need to attend work on the back of trucks sometimes but it's dangerous to go out with people sitting in the back of a truck after drinking alcohol

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  9. For years people have ridden in these. This was just an unfortunate accident. I understand it is unlawful but how unsafe is it compared to riding a motorcycle. Nothing illegal about riding a motorcycle but it is far more dangerous. BTW I am a motorcycle rider. My point is that accidents do happen.

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  10. Hey people, the law is the law. Everyone knows that we are not to ride in open back vehicles. Just because it is a common practice which seems a norm or accepted, does not make it legit. Ernest is my cousin... God bless his soul... but this can happen to anyone, anywhere.If you continue to risk it, just be careful. Some of us vent when the driver says 'take it flat' but they are not only looking out for us, they are also trying to cover their bases.Please be careful and considerate.The life you save may be your own... just saying

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  11. HUndreds of people sit in the back of buses daily. One or two people die a year from it. Are you saying we should totally enforce such an insignificant law.

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    • Hg,

      I agree with you.

      This is what I'm talking about; they're trying to prevent or stop something when it's only .05% out of 500 people died from it. And please don't tell me .05% of people don't have to die. People will just die a different way.

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  12. the law so useless it had to take someone to die to reinforce that law can you see its time st lucia step up in life and do what is required

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  13. Police officers always think or act like they above the law; doing the same things they claim to be unlawful..smh

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  14. To implement that law we have to improve the public transportation system.This law do not take in the plight of the population.In life we have to take chances and known risks.Can you guess the hardship of the commuting public.

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  15. Hey, people died from eating pork, let's ban pork; people died from eating fatty foods, let's ban all fatty foods; people died from climbing tree's, let's ban that practice also. I mean, come on now. A farmer, who is dirty because he was in his garden, is looking for a ride to the area where he lives. Do you think anyone, even a bus driver, would give the farmer a ride?

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  16. Seriously! Now we speak about Laws that are Not enforced. I have questionned why this still happens. But as usual we wait for something bad to happen. Now,SHALL WE SPEAL ABOUT BUS OVERLOAD, CHILDREN RIDING HORSES WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION.....we will talk about this for a little until it dies out
    Then it will no longer be an issue.

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  17. I have seen police officers arrest people and throw them at the back of vans like animals,for example YARDEE. I want to know if this is not unlawful

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  18. Sometimes when these people come on the news and talk about traffic laws that are unlawful and illegal I am asking if these guys ore on CRACK or some kind of substance abuse. Just look around and see how many police officers being transported in open back pickups. isn't that illegal or unlawful. Come on many times these Jokers comes on the news and say that the laws are on the books but they just not enforcing them. Lol lol.........

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  19. D police sayin do as I say not as I do coz any time u c SSU police they on d back of their transport doing d same ting just like USA saying we legalizing GANJA but we eradicating yours,usual BATIZZ in a poor man's life.

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  20. These practices have been taking place on the island for donkeys years. Now the police wants to enforce this practice. How do you mead something that has been broken for years.We all know it's illegal but how do u tell someone who is getting a ride home from work or school that they can't accept a ride from anyone one with an opened back truck.We have a lot of work to do on this one. I know how dangerous ridding in the back of a pick up track can be, we lost a family friend years ago in an accident involving a pick up track.
    So Let All Lucian Try To Deter Each Other About The Danger Of Riding IN The Open back of a pick up truck.
    To gather we can save lives.stay safe stay alive.

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  21. This is a bunch of bull. I'm tired of these "johnny come latelies" wanting to change things that we used to do before. This is part what made St. Lucia SAINT LUCIA. The guy fell off the back of the van, ok, I feel sorry for his family. But damn, wanting to charge or even arrest (yeah right) a driver for having people in the back of a van is idiotic. When you ride in the back of a van, you do so under assumed risk. So, as someone said, some people, at times, can't afford the fare for a ride home or such. What does the individual do then?

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  22. aa but joe i see you put people at the back of your Mitsubishi sportero already i hope u use discretion eh lol