Traffic Dep’t Head warns the public against riding in the back of pickup trucks

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Residents are being cautioned against the practice of riding in the beds of pickup trucks and similar commercial vehicles.

The plea came from Head of the Police Traffic Department, Superintendent Rodney Ellis, following the tragic death of 28-year-old Jamoya Browne, who recently fell from a truck while he was on his way home from work on August 5.

Browne, who was in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) died last Friday.

This is not the first time that Ellis and other officials from the traffic department have made this call as over the years the bad practice has been an ongoing issue.

He added that it is something that he has seen happening quite frequently and due to the heightened cases, some sort of measure must be taken to mitigate the illegal practice.

“What has been going on is that I believe now insurance is covering these vehicles to carry persons, but it is a practice that we don’t encourage. It’s not legal for them to take persons at the back of the truck so this is something that we will have to go back to the table with and have a discussion with the AG [Attorney General] with regards to that,” Ellis said.

“From the Traffic Department’s standpoint and the police’s standpoint, that is something that we won’t encourage. It is not safe; it is dangerous … if you are going to transport the workers, you get them in the proper vehicle to do that. You can get a bus to do that but at the back of the truck anything can happen and this latest incident is a typical example of what can happen.”

Ellis mentioned that the warning is not only for persons involved in commercial movement, but also for regular persons who utilise the truck beds for simple purposes like a ride to the beach or down the street for persons transporting equipment and other materials that exceed the capacity of their vehicles.

He took the time to remind residents of the correct practices when transporting equipment and other materials.

“The rule with that is if you are taking something that is longer than your vehicle you should have something tied, something red that it can indicate to persons behind that you have an extension on your vehicle. If you have your pickup and you buy a door or some steel and you want to transport them, the rule of the road is that you have a red flag or something tied on the back of it indicating to other drivers that you are carrying something longer than the length of your pickup,” Ellis explained.

Meanwhile, Ellis revealed that the department has been observing another potentially dangerous practice that has become a norm which, he says, could require some legislative action.

That practice pertains to drivers who have unlicensed trailers attached to their vehicles on the road, and they are being advised that it illegal to do so.

“The rule of the road is that you should have that trailer licensed at the [Antigua Barbuda] Transport Board and have a number plate on it also, to be on the road. Everybody is just hooking something on the back of their vehicles and it is dangerous. That is something we have to be discussing going forward.

“That is not how it is supposed to be done and as I mentioned, I am going to have a discussion with the AG with that also, because … in the event something happens and that trailer hit somebody at least you can pick up a number plate on that trailer to say yes, that is the trailer that hit my vehicle,” he added.

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