Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, told the House of Representatives on February 9 that a new traffic ticketing system, currently being implemented, is expected to go a far way in collecting billions in unpaid ticket fines, and curtail other indiscretions committed by motorists.
He was contributing to the debate on a motion dealing with issues of road safety, which was moved by Central Kingston Member of Parliament, Ronald Thwaites.
The Prime Minister said the system was piloted in seven parishes last November and the installation process in the other parishes was almost complete to facilitate full implementation across the island. “We have almost completed the installation…we now have an integrated system where the moment the ticket is issued, it is registered in that database. We have servers that download it to the court offices,” he informed.
Mr. Golding, who is also Chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), told the House that 97,609 tickets were issued under the new system in the seven parishes in which it is in operation, and of the total, 40,065 have been paid. He pointed that those not yet paid, are still within period allowed for payments.
Highlighting the need for the automated ticketing facility, he said the old paper-based system was inefficient and problem-plagued, resulting in the accumulation of close to $3 billion in unpaid traffic tickets.
He said efforts were made to see whether those outstanding fines could be passed on to collection agencies but “I’m told that it can’t be done because once (motorists) have failed to pay the fine, then it becomes a matter before the court, and you can’t take it out of the court and assign it to a collecting agency." He said that this issue would be addressed in the proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act.
Meanwhile, Mr. Golding said hand-held ticketing devices, to be used by the traffic police, are to be delivered shortly.
“So that, if you are stopped by the policeman on the road, he is going to have a unit that the moment he issues that ticket, it is automatically uploaded and downloaded on the server. It means that if you issue the ticket now, by the time you can get to the tax office, it is there on the system. We are going to be able to bring together, in that system, all information relating to that licence and that driver,” he said.
“It will know whether or not your original licence was revoked, what your points numbers are, so that if you do get a substitute licence, and you are at 14 points before, that substitute licence will now carry 14 points on it. It will know if there are any warrants out for you, it will know if there are any outstanding tickets. All of that information will now be centralized. It will match receipts against tickets, it will report on paid tickets, it will manage demerit points, it will manage insurance, and it will record disposition of court cases,” Mr. Golding explained further.
The Prime Minister said no date has been set for the introduction of the hand-held ticketing system, as testing of the software is still being done.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH