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Story Highlights

  • Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says debate on proposed changes to the Road Traffic Act will get underway in the House of Representatives during June.
  • Notable among these are increased fines for motorists cited by the police for speeding, with the fines for motorists exceeding the limit by 16 to 32 kilometres being $6,000; between 33 and 49 kilometres, $10,000; and over 50 kilometres, $15,000.
  • Police statistics show that 150 persons have perished on the nation’s roads since the start of the year, nine more than the corresponding period last year.

Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says debate on proposed changes to the Road Traffic Act will get underway in the House of Representatives during June.

Notable among these are increased fines for motorists cited by the police for speeding, with the fines for motorists exceeding the limit by 16 to 32 kilometres being $6,000; between 33 and 49 kilometres, $10,000;  and over 50 kilometres, $15,000.

Police statistics show that 150 persons have perished on the nation’s roads since the start of the year, nine more than the corresponding period last year.

The statistics also show that over 330 road fatalities were recorded for 2014, which is 23 more than the previous year.

Speaking at the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association (JGRA) Road Safety Month launch, at Angels, St. Catherine, on June 3, Dr. Davies cited  concerns which  have been raised by several stakeholders about the rationale for the proposed increases.

“They are measures meant to increase the level of discipline on the roads, and to reduce (the number of) accidents, and fatalities, which are avoidable. You don’t have to pay those fines, if you obey the rules,” he said.

Other proposed revisions to the Act include: mandatory training and certification of motor vehicle driving instructors; extending the period for holding a learner’s permit, with accompanying new conditions; curtailing the use of electronic hand-held devices while driving; and increased powers for the Island Traffic Authority (ITA).

Meanwhile, Dr. Davies advised that the Ministry has received authorization from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to proceed with plans to recover costs associated with damage to road infrastructure, such as guard rails and light poles, during motor vehicle accidents.

To this end, he said a special National Works Agency (NWA) unit will be pursuing these cases.

“So, when you crash and hit down a light pole or the road furniture, this is now going to be the first charge on your insurance (company). Too many people have gotten away with this. Too many persons have acted carelessly and with indiscipline, and have gotten away with this. So, we are going to act decisively, in that regard,” Dr. Davies emphasized.

The JGRA is observing National Road Safety Month during June, under the theme: ‘Road Safety For Life’.