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Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, has informed that as part of measures to reduce accidents on the nation’s roads, a new traffic ticketing system would be implemented on a phased basis, starting July 1, 2009.
He also reported that parallel activities at the Ministry of Justice and the Island Traffic Authority are progressing well.
“Activities include staff training at the Resident Magistrate Courts, equipping the courts with computers, and very important network access to the integrated system that the various stakeholders will use,” Colonel MacMillan said.
The Minister was speaking today (October 2), at the launch of the National Road Safety Council road safety project, ‘Project Below 300 – Jamaica can do it’, which was held at Jamaica House.
The project is an initiative, aimed at reducing road fatalities to below 300 for 2008 and beyond.
Senator MacMillan noted that work on the new bench warrant management system is also going well.
“The same is true for the efforts of the Island Traffic Authority, to revamp the management of the demerit points system. Naturally, the network will depend on data from Inland Revenue on vehicles, drivers, licences and payments, and everything is up to speed there,” the Minister said.
Senator MacMillan pointed out that network access would enable law enforcement personnel to improve service delivery.
“For one thing, it will improve the accuracy, and speed up the issuing of tickets. It will also allow officers in the field to use the records management system to verify licences, insurance information, and so on, and to track stolen vehicles immediately,” he explained.
The Minister said that a major cause for road fatalities could be traced to corrupt drivers, in possession of false documents, such as driver’s licences, fitness certificates and insurance.
“It’s something that makes me really angry when I think about the tragic consequences. I look forward, with great relief, to Jamaica’s first Special Prosecutor taking office next year. The office will have a department dedicated to dealing with corrupt public servants,” Senator MacMillan said.
The Minister explained that legislation would be amended to remove the mandatory court visits for some offences, and this would “allow us to re-deploy personnel to more needed areas, such as traffic management.”
A new electronic surveillance system for certain roads and public areas would also be implemented and it is expected to bring about a significant reduction in the incidence of speeding and the running of red lights, he said.
Senator MacMillan applauded the National Road Safety Council, for conceptualising the national road safety project. “Like all of your initiatives, the below 300 Project is an ambitious endeavour,” he said.
Chairman of the National Road Safety Council, Dr. Lucien Jones, said he hoped the project would gain the support of the entire Jamaican population, “as we work together to save the lives of the over 300 men, women and children who die needlessly on our roads each year.”
Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry, in his remarks, noted that the Ministry is “happy to be involved in this initiative.”
“Empirical evidence suggests that most of the accidents that occur around us can be avoided, once we begin to appreciate more, the full negative implications of the tragedies, and learn over time to be more patient, tolerant and civil on our roadways,” Mr Henry said.
“That is what we are about today. That is where we are headed, with a systematic programme being put in place to help to significantly reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on our roadways,” he added.