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Thursday October 30. 2014

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Drunk Driving Laws

There are no drunk driving laws enforced in Barbados.  However there is a law for driving without due care and attention.

Speaking at the closing ceremony for the ‘Constables’ Collision Investigations Course’ and the ‘Motor Omnibus Driving Course’ in April this year, Senior Superintendent of the Royal Barbados Police Force’s (RBPF) Leonard Broome said that,  “The ever-increasing number of accidents is a source of concern and attempts are being made to remedy the situation through:                                                                                                                         

  •  Public education,
  • Strong enforcement of the traffic laws,
  • Investigation into the cause of accident, and
  • Analysing data and Conducting road safety audits in areas where accidents often occur.

Sadly there was no mention of the enforcement of breathalyzer testing despite evidence that shows that drunk drinking play a crucial role in road accidents, serious injuries and road deaths in Barbados.

In August 2007, the then Minister of Transport, Gline Clarke, said that the Government was going to “study” breathalyser test but as far back as 1985, there were supposed to be laws on drunk driving in Barbados.  It is therefore quite baffling why we cannot get clarity on drunk driving laws in Barbados and why so little is done to rid our streets of drunk drivers.

What excuse can there be for not having drunk driving laws in Barbados and breathalyser testing when this is already wide spread across the globe including countries from where we get most of our visitors such as the USA, Canada and the UK.  Barbados now lags behind regional countries such as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and the tourist dependent Brazil in getting drunk drivers off the roads.

Barbados Drunk Driving laws confusing to Visitors.

Postings on the web show that would-be-visitors to Barbados are confused about the laws relating to driving and drinking alcohol in Barbados.   A June 10 posting reads .....

Drink DriveLaws very Confused! 

“I have searched the internet and this forum high and low re the laws and limits on drink driving in Barbados.. don't get me wrong i am not planning on getting spannered and driving along barely able to see, but i just want to know that im safe to have a couple of beers and not get in trouble if i drove and got pulled over for some reason?

Ideally i just want to know what the liit is so i can stay within the law, but some people say there is not a limit and no law, but these posts date back to 2007??

Is there anyone out in Barbados who lives there, or knows the law, who can confirm for us all once and for all!?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Everyone

A reply to this went like this:

St Albans, England

Re: Drink Drive Laws very Confused!    Jun 10, 2009 3:44 PM

ultimately you're left to decide for yourself how much you can drink before your driving is impaired.

we were there in May and as far as I could tell, there is still no explicit law relating to drink-driving like we have in the UK...so yes you are safe to have one or two beers without worrying about it. The police do not even have a breathalizer kit on the island IIRC, and will not be pulling cars over with the express purpose of checking for drink-drivers.

That said, the roads are busy, badly lit at night and full of hazards such as potholes and people on foot. And if you do get into an accident and you're obviously drunk, you'll be in a lot of trouble from other driving laws eg. dangerous/wreckless driving.