The Full Story
The Government will be amending the new Road Traffic Act and Regulations in order to reinforce public transportation safety for children and the wider public.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement during a media briefing on Friday (February 3).
It comes in the wake of a decision by several operators of public passenger vehicles (PPVs) islandwide not to transport children, in light of stipulations under the law for the installation of child-restraint systems.
Addressing journalists at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Kingston, Mr. Holness said the Government has taken note of public concern expressed about the matter, since the new legislation came into effect on Wednesday, February 1.
“That creates a situation of great unsafety and, for this reason, the ultimate objective of the Road Safety Act, and in this clause, in particular, is to ensure that our children are safe,” he said.
Consequently, the Prime Minister said amendments will initially be made to the 2022 Road Traffic Regulations and, thereafter, the Act, “which may come in a month or two or so, depending on how fast we can move with consultations and further deliberations”.
He further stressed that the Government “is sympathetic to those who may have been affected”.
“We will have some forbearance [for those] who have been affected or may have received a ticket as a result of this,” Mr. Holness indicated.
He advised that until the amendments are made, the Government will support decision of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to exercise greater discretion in allowing PPV drivers to transport children without the restraint system.
Prime Minister Holness maintained, however, that the Administration is not “resiling from the position that there must be prescribed safety measures in our law”.
“The Government cannot and will not go back to the old way of making laws and enforcement. People now see that we are serious about public order [which] is a convenience for all. But it will inconvenience some, and the Government has to manage this process,” he underscored.
The Prime Minister encourages the public to immerse themselves in the consultative process for the new legislation by submitting their suggestions to the National Road Safety Council.
“We want to hear from you, [as] we consider this to be a part of developing a culture of safety,” Mr. Holness said.