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Drivers or operators of vehicles who breach the provisions outlined in the recently amended Transport Authority and Road Traffic Acts, now face stiffer penalties.
“On first conviction, one offence of operating without a road licence, the offender is liable to pay a fine of not less than $20,000 or more than $40,000.
On second conviction, he is liable to pay a fine of not less than $40,000 or more than $75,000. And, on third conviction, a fine of not less than $75,000 or more than $125,000 is applied,” disclosed Dian Watson, Legal Officer at the Transport Authority at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, yesterday (July 13).
For the first and second offences, in default of payment, the offender will be imprisoned for a period not exceeding six months. For the third offence, a term of 12 months imprisonment and disqualification from holding a driver’s licence for one year can be applied.
With regard to persons found guilty of operating contrary to the terms of their licences, Miss Watson pointed out that a fine not exceeding $100,000 might be applied.
Additionally, the fines for passengers who breach the Road Traffic regulations have also been increased, she added.
Any passenger found guilty of not paying the appropriate fares, using offensive or obscene language on the public passenger vehicle, or not showing a ticket on the vehicle, is now liable to pay a fine of up to $50,000, she said.
To this end, passengers on all public passenger vehicles are encouraged to retain their ticket stubs while travelling on the vehicles, she advised, as this was their proof of having paid the fare.
The conduct and deportment of drivers and conductors will also be scrutinised under the amended legislation.
“A fine not exceeding $75,000 [can be applied] if these persons are found guilty of disorderly conduct on the bus, not ensuring the safety of the passengers on the bus, smoking on the bus, not wearing the designated uniform and deceiving the passengers as it relates to the destination or bus fare for a particular journey,” Miss Watson said.
Amendments to the Road Traffic Act also provide for the release of motor vehicles seized by the Transport Authority inspectors or the Police for contravention of the legislation, before the matter is determined in court.
“This release will be done by the court, if the owner of the vehicle makes an application to the court and the court is satisfied that the owner has paid to the Transport Authority, the cost for the removal and storage of the vehicle and has submitted to the court, a bond with such surety as the court may determine,” explained the Legal Officer.
The bond will be placed at an amount not less than the minimum fine for the offence.
Where an accused is acquitted of the charge(s) brought against him, he is refunded the monies paid for the removal and storage of the vehicle, as well as the amount paid under the bond.
On the other hand, if found guilty and convicted of the offence, the amount paid under the bond will be applied against the fines, and where the fines are less, the difference will be refunded to the driver.