Cop’s death triggers more access to toll roads for colleagues | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

The Toll Authority on Monday sought to clarify the matter of emergency vehicles’ access to toll roads amid concerns raised following the death of a police constable at a section of the North-South Highway on Saturday.

The Toll Authority said in a release from the Ministry of Transport and Mining that preliminary reports from the operators indicate that the vehicle which collected the injured officer and transported him to the St Ann hospital had to pay at one toll booth but was given free access to exit at another, once the situation was explained to the attendant.

“Protocol dictates that an attendant must seek approval from a supervisor in order to grant the toll exemption. This process is usually done in less than 90 seconds,” the release said.

The Toll Authority said reports in the media which stated a delay of up to four hours are, therefore, inaccurate.

“It must be noted gaining access to the North-South highway is automatic for all users. A toll card is issued at the point of entry and it is only upon exit that toll payment would be required,” the release added.

Citing clause 18.7 of the North-South Concession Agreement (2012), the Toll Authority said “once an emergency vehicle which is on duty presents itself at the Toll Plazas, there should be no requirement for payment”.

The Toll Authority said preliminary reports from the operators concerning the incident state that there was no issue in the Public Safety & Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) Highway Patrol Unit gaining access to the highway to attend to the crash site, which was reportedly confirmed in a statement by Deputy Superintendent Raymond Wilson, Welfare Director in the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“As first responders, members of PSTEB maintain electronic access to the toll roads.

“The Authority, having consulted with the Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon Audley Shaw, as well as the Chairman of Authority, is moving to advance existing plans to expand the number of JCF service vehicles with the electronic access beyond the PSTEB Highway Patrol Unit, which currently has responsibility for monitoring the North-South Highway,” the release said.

Minister Shaw has also committed to a further detailed review of the policies and procedures, it added.

In the meantime, the Toll Authority has expressed condolences to the family of Constable Donald Carr, who succumbed to injuries received after being involved in a crash on the North-South Highway on Saturday.

The Toll Authority said it will provide a more detailed update once the formal reports are received from the JCF and the toll operators.