Senate Begins Debate on New Road Traffic Bill

Photo: Donald De La Haye Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (at podium), pilots the new Road Traffic Bill in the Senate on Friday (April 27). At left is Government Senator, Kerensia Morrison.

Story Highlights

  • The Senate began its deliberations on the new Road Traffic Bill during its sitting at Gordon House today (April 27).
  • The Bill, which was passed in the Lower House with 131 amendments on February 6, seeks to repeal and replace the existing 1938 Act, and will establish new offences as well as provide increased penalties for breaches.
  • “It has been reported that deaths and injuries on our roads in 2018 are largely due to speeding, disobeying traffic signs, swerving, following closely behind the vehicle in front and the failure to keep left due to distractions such as talking and texting and even watching DVDs,” she said.

 

The Senate began its deliberations on the new Road Traffic Bill during its sitting at Gordon House today (April 27).

Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill, said the legislation will be crucial in promoting and enforcing safer use of the nation’s roads, particularly in light of the high number of road fatalities resulting from indiscipline.

“Because of this culture of indiscipline on our roads, we also need our long-outdated laws to be in order, to ensure better order and its enforcement on our roads,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson Smith introduced a 38-page list of amendments to the Bill, which deal with the use of electronic communication devices while driving, ticketable offences, electronic ticketing, the establishment of a motor-vehicle register, and the renewal and suspension of driver’s licences.

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

In the meantime, Mrs. Johnson Smith appealed for road users to exercise greater care, citing 2017 statistics showing 321 deaths from road crashes.

“We have all experienced the indiscipline on our roads. This has to change. We have to do better as road users. Individually, we all need to take responsibility for our safety and for the safety of others on our roads,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith informed that since the start of the year, up to the 23rd of April, 96 persons have died in 85 fatal crashes. Most of these fatalities were pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers of private motor vehicles.

“It has been reported that deaths and injuries on our roads in 2018 are largely due to speeding, disobeying traffic signs, swerving, following closely behind the vehicle in front and the failure to keep left due to distractions such as talking and texting and even watching DVDs,” she said.

More than 1.3 million people die each year around the world as a result of road traffic crashes.

 

 

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