Drivers in public transport system to be retrained, recertified Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Government of Jamaica will be rolling out a programme to retrain and recertify drivers in the public transport system.

Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, Daryl Vaz, disclosed at a recent meeting of the National Road Safety Council held at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew.

He said it is proposed that for the retraining exercise, the drivers will participate in an online and in-person course before receiving their certification.

“What I realise is that the pool of drivers that we have in the public transportation system needs to be recertified, they need to be retrained and there has to be something put in place for a certification,” the minister said.

“What I’ve proposed at the meeting is that no one should be able to go to the Island Traffic Authority and get a PPV driver’s licence or a general driver’s licence to carry public passengers without certification from the Transport Authority. That is well advanced, and it is just a matter of implementation, which means that persons will be able to do an online course, with an in-person part of it, which will give them the final certification,” he added.

Vaz said the programme is aimed at ensuring that the pool of drivers in the system will be qualified to operate in the public transport sector.

“I believe if we do that, we will be able to at least streamline the current set of drivers that we have in the public transportation sector, and, of course, make sure that those who are coming into the public transport sector are certified before.

“I think the big problem that we have now with the speeding and the indiscipline on the road is that some of these drivers are not properly qualified to be transporting commuters,” he said.

Vice-chair of the National Road Safety Council, Dr Lucien Jones, said increased enforcement and public education are critical to reducing road fatalities on the nation’s roads.

“We face a national crisis; we have had 159 deaths, so far, for the year, compared to 162 for the similar period last year. Last calendar year, we lost 425 people tragically, and we don’t want to go back there,” he said.

Dr Jones pointed out that the main cause of the crashes are young men between the ages of 18 and 29 making very poor decisions on the roads, noting that behaviour change is integral to reducing road deaths.