Obey New Road Law and Avoid Heavy Fines – Johnson Smith

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, is advising persons concerned about heavy fines for breaches under the new Road Traffic Bill to “simply obey the law”.
  • “If you obey the law, you will not have a fine. So please do not complain about how high the fines are and how they are pressuring… we have to turn the corner on the question of discipline and law and order in society. We have to get serious and we have to have people think seriously about the law and about how they use the road,” she said.
  • She argued further that stemming “the indiscipline, the recklessness, the carelessness, the lack of respect for others demonstrated on our roads” starts with stronger traffic laws, along with proper implementation and enforcement and effective public education.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, is advising persons concerned about heavy fines for breaches under the new Road Traffic Bill to “simply obey the law”.

“If you obey the law, you will not have a fine. So please do not complain about how high the fines are and how they are pressuring… we have to turn the corner on the question of discipline and law and order in society. We have to get serious and we have to have people think seriously about the law and about how they use the road,” she said.

She argued further that stemming “the indiscipline, the recklessness, the carelessness, the lack of respect for others demonstrated on our roads” starts with stronger traffic laws, along with proper implementation and enforcement and effective public education.

Mrs. Johnson Smith was speaking in the Senate on Friday (May 11), where the Road Traffic Bill was passed with 161 amendments.

The Bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on February 6 with 131 amendments, seeks to repeal and replace the existing 1938 Act, and will establish new offences as well as provide increased penalties for breaches.

Mrs. Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill through the Senate, thanked both sides of the House for their “constructive contribution to the process” of modernising the legislation.

The Leader of Government Business noted that the updated Bill is now suited to the current realities on the roads, particularly in relation to the high number of fatalities stemming from the indiscipline of some road users.

“I wish to extend our deepest and most sincere thanks to the technical team from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Parliamentary Counsel, the Ministry of Transport and Mining, the Road Safety Council and all the stakeholders… for the work to get the Road Traffic Act modernised, fit for purpose and ready to usher us into a new, safe and prosperous future,” she said.

Among the features of the Road Traffic Bill are a restriction on handheld devices and a requirement for drivers to have a licence in their possession while operating a vehicle.

No grace period will be allowed to produce a permit or driver’s licence, if it is found that the motorist does not have the document on his or her person.

Some of the offences for which heavy fines will be imposed under the Bill include driving without 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 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).

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