House Approves Amendments to Road Traffic Act

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Jamaica News: The House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 13) approved additional amendments to the Road Traffic Bill, establishing new offences as well as providing increased penalties for breaches.

The amendments, piloted by Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, are in addition to the more than 160 approved by the Senate earlier this year.

The legislation will now go back to the Senate, where it is anticipated that its passage will receive the same level of support that was received in the Lower House.

Some of the offences for which heavy fines will be imposed under the Bill include driving without the required motor vehicle insurance coverage ($20,000); driving a motor vehicle without being the holder of a permit or driver’s licence ($40,000); failure of a driver to obey the traffic light ($24,000); loud noises within silence zones and failure to wear a protective helmet ($5,000); failure to comply with traffic signs ($10,000); and failure to stop at pedestrian crossings ($12,000).

In his contribution to the debate, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, welcomed the new Road Traffic Bill, noting the cost of road traffic fatalities “is astronomical when it comes to the public health system”.

“What we are discussing is critical not just to the victims intended or otherwise. It has a significant impact on the public health system. One of the things that we really have to do as we move this process forward is focus heavily on enforcement,” Dr. Tufton said.

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For his part, Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Mark Golding, welcomed the provision for motor vehicle owners to be ticketed for breaches by drivers of their vehicles.

“In relation to ticketable offences, which are the subject of electronic surveillance capture, it is not only the offender who is liable criminally but the owner of the vehicle. This is a novelty or certainly an innovation in our law in relation to road traffic. It is an important step towards greater accountability for how drivers behave on the road,” he noted.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Montague said plans are now in place to install more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all major intersections.

He noted that all intersections in the Corporate Area; May Pen, Clarendon; Mandeville, Manchester; Montego Bay, St. James; and Ocho Rios, St. Ann already have electronic monitoring in place.

“The Ministry of National Security, I am very positive…will be rolling out new cameras within the next three to four months across other towns in the country. The National Works Agency, through private partnerships, is moving to get traffic cameras, separate from the normal CCTV cameras, but specific traffic cameras at intersections to do speed, to do lane change and stop light violations,” Mr. Montague said.


Source: JIS News

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