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Of trailers and trucks

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Tue Aug 20, 2013

Editor: I can still recall, when growing up in Grenada, whilst walking to school, we would sometimes be met by a car or pick-up with a large red flag being waved to alert vehicles and pedestrians of an on-coming large or long vehicle. No one had to tell you to expect possible danger as you were warned to get to a safe area, or, if driving, you should expect less available space for your vehicle.{{more}}

This is 2013, many years later, and I am forced to question why here in St Vincent, especially along the route from Kingstown to Campden Park, there are no outriders alerting that there will be a high tonnage, long vehicle travelling towards you and that it will, at anytime, occupy the entire road, even around a blind corner and possibly not honk its horn.

This is a general practice in this country and it makes no sense why there are no proper rules or regulations governing the practice of moving high tonnage, long vehicles. This practice is also noted in Kingstown when suddenly a large trailer-truck would speed around the intersection by the old Ju-C building or at the intersection of the Building and Loan, Central Market and Coreas Pharmacy buildings, occupying the entire road. You might even be given some choice words by the driver if you seem to be “in his way”.

These situations really question how we view the operation of motor vehicles and road safety, as these circumstances have obvious risks involved. I would assume that having different classes of licenses is not just a method of collecting more fees, but to also ensure that there is a safety measure that ensures that the operators of the vehicles are aware of their responsibilities.

Some of the high tonnage vehicles are seen to be carrying loads that are obviously much more than they are licensed for, as seen by their inability to move along with appropriate speed and, of course, the number of “break-downs” along the way. Many of these vehicles don’t have proper operating indicators and visible number plates, but I am yet to see a single one pulled over by the police for not having these important and compulsory items.

Personally, when driving, especially along that Leeward road, I say a little prayer. I know what to expect at anytime, but it always makes me wonder how a non-national who rents a car and drives towards that part of the island would fare (The Ministry of Tourism does not see these obvious things as all eyes are on the other side of the island, I guess).

I thought of penning this article about two years ago, after driving towards Buccament Bay Resort and the very next day, an accident along the road stopped traffic from approximately 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. I thought that the lesson had been learnt and that my article would simply be seen as piggy– backing on obvious changes that would have been made. Not a thing changed to my amazement and the chaos resumed and continues to this day.

Yet another practice of many large businesses is the parking of trailers on the streets of Kingstown. It is not unusual that an area that has “No Parking” painted on the ground would have a large trailer seemingly permanently parked. If you park your private car on that very spot for ten minutes you would have just increased the State’s annual income by about one hundred dollars. The trailers don’t have reflectors or any other mechanism of warning to alert of their existence, especially in an area where least expected.

I strongly recommend that there be a few new rules and regulations with reference to operation of the container and trucking system. Obviously, all the trucks and trailers must have proper maintenance and warning mechanisms affixed to them and outriders when on the move. These trucks and trailers must have continuous inspections and not be allowed to carry loads if not passed. No permanent parking of containers along streets and especially in the city. The load carried and the use of these very long trailers that are oversized for the roads must either be stopped, given special licenses or time of the day that they can be moved along the streets.

In view of the containers in Kingstown, there must be a system allowing these trailers to be parked for a specific and short period of time. I envisage night off-loading, so that the streets can be clear, safe and more picturesque during the day.

Presently industrial sites have more rules and regulation for operation of vehicles on their compounds than our public roads and especially with reference to the operation of high tonnage vehicles and that must be food for thought.

Dr Wayne Murray

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