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  • The proposed fines under the new Road Traffic Act are expected to change the culture of driving and road usage among Jamaican motorists.
  • For exceeding the speed limit between 16 to 32 kilometres, motorists will be charged $6,000; between 33 and 49 kilometres, $10,000; and 50 kilometres and over, will attract a fine of $15,000.
  • The Bill, which was in gestation for approximately 10 years, was recently tabled in the House of Representatives.

The proposed fines under the new Road Traffic Act are expected to change the culture of driving and road usage among Jamaican motorists, says Minister with responsibility for Housing, Dr. the Hon. Morais Guy.

Among the proposed changes are: increased traffic penalties for breaches of the road code; mandatory training and certification of motor vehicle driving instructors; a longer period for holding a learner’s permit with new conditions attached; curtailing the use of electronic hand-held devices while driving; and increased powers for the Island Traffic Authority.

Seeking to clarify the fines, which have been publicized Dr. Guy informed that the larger fines will only be paid after several processes have proven unsuccessful.

He made the disclosure while addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, on Maxfield Avenue in St. Andrew on June 19.

For exceeding the speed limit between 16 to 32 kilometres, motorists will be charged $6,000; between 33 and 49 kilometres, $10,000; and 50 kilometres and over, will attract a fine of $15,000.

“The new dispensation allows the motorists a period of time within which they will pay as in the old one but in this new proposal, say after a month over that period of time, he will pay that $6,000 plus a certain percentage of it…but after the third month, that he has not paid, then he has to go to court and that is when the fines in the court are higher than the original ones,” he explained.

He said that this means that the fine for 16 to 32 kilometres becomes $15,000 instead of the original $6000; 33 to 49 kilometres, $30,000 and over 50 kilometres, $45,000.

“So the impression is given out there to the public that for any speeding fine it is $45,000, this is not the case,” he said.

The Minister noted that these are offences people need not pay for if they stay within the speed limits.

The Bill, which was in gestation for approximately 10 years, was recently tabled in the House of Representatives.

He informed that members from the Lower House have been selected for the Joint Select Committee “and we are hoping that when the Senate meets that their counterpart number members will be named and we will have the committee in full swing.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies said members of the public will be allowed to submit written proposals regarding the Bill.

As proposed in the Bill, driving children without a child restraint system will carry a fine of $20,000; pillion riders without protective helmet, $15,000; failing to stop before reaching a place where children are, $10,000; putting vehicles in motion while stoplights are on red, $10,000; and overtaking a vehicle which has stopped at a pedestrian crossing, will attract a fine of $10,000. Refusing to allow trucks to be weighed will attract a fine of $50,000; obstructing traffic while delivering or loading goods, $20,000. For reckless and careless driving causing death, a $250,000 fine is proposed. Exceeding the speeding limit is proposed at $20,000, and motorists who race on the nations’ roads, will attract a fine of $100,000.

Other major penalties include $50,000 for driving under the influence of alcohol and up to $100,000 for failing to provide specimen of breath for a breath analysis.

Driving without insurance coverage will attract a penalty of $45,000; obscured licence plate and unaffixed registration, $10,000; driving an unlicensed vehicle, $20,000, and contrary to terms of the licence, $30,000; driving without a driver’s licence in one’s possession, $10,000, and driving without owning driver’s or learner’s licence, $40,000; failing to inform the authority of a change of address, $2,000, providing false residential information, $5,000; applying for a driver’s licence while being disqualified, $30,000, and driving while disqualified, $50,000.