‘Apathy’ blamed for lack of response to driving petition

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Jetz Maddox is calling for a review of the way bad drivers, including those who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel, are punished.

She believes the disparity in sanctions, which are dealt with at parish level, means those who flout the law think they will get away with ‘a slap on the wrists’.

Her petition, launched a month ago on the States of Jersey e-petitions site, has attracted just eight signatures. It would need 1,000 people to support it within six months to force a ministerial response.

In contrast, other petitions calling for cat ‘hit and runs’ to be made illegal, and increasing the Island’s speed limit to 50 mph have gained 2,458 and 1,229 signatures respectively.

Ms Maddox said: ‘I follow a Facebook page called Jersey’s Worst Drivers and saw a video that triggered me. It was of cars driving along Rouge Bouillon to the roundabout. Nearby lights had had turned red and an oncoming car turned right. I was absolutely horrified and angry.’

While she took this specific incident up with the police, she believes the answer lies elsewhere.

‘The problem is not with the States of Jersey Police, it’s that Centeniers have varying fines across parishes.

‘Some people get a slap on the wrists; some get a caution; some get fined. If there was a flat fine across all parishes, then fewer people would be inclined to text while driving.’

Ms Maddox believes the lack of response to her petition is because the problem of bad drivers is so prevalent.

‘Every day I walk from Five Oaks to Belvedere Hill and I see drivers with mobile phones. Yesterday a woman was distracted and wasn’t focusing. She came round the corner and saw me on a dangerous bend but didn’t stop. If she’d been speeding I’d have been killed.

‘What I’m disgusted about is that it’s happening so often. It’s every day. I think people see it so much that it’s commonplace.

‘I think somebody is waiting for somebody else to step up and do something. I’m pleased eight people care my petition has gone live. Hopefully others will see it, too.’

She hopes, regardless of the success of her petition, that Centeniers will look into the differing punishments and talk to each other in the interests of consistency.

Her petition reads: ‘Same penalties in all parishes for drivers found guilty of breaking road laws. Everyday we see huge abuses of our road safety systems. Drivers using mobile phones, reading, driving the wrong way. Fines and/or penalties differ in each parish and this is a big part of the problem.’

The petition can be viewed at petitions.gov.je.

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