Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Road Traffic Act covers cell phones to wheelies

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A motorist uses a cell phone to text while driving.
A car looms large in the rear view mirror.
A motor cyclist pulls along a young man on roller skates.
A policewoman writing up a traffic ticket in Hope Bay, Portland, in 2010.

On Friday, the Senate debated the new Road Traffic Act, which will have far-reaching impact on the legal framework within which motorists operate on Jamaica's road network. Ahead of the new legislation being signed into law, Automotives reminds the motoring public of some of the proposed regulations and penalties. They are wide-ranging, covering cell phone use to daring motorcyclists who 'wheelie' at will.

Parts of the proposed new Road Traffic Act reads as follows:

Section 57

1. (f) While on a main road, he (a driver) shall not be permitted to travel backwards further than two vehicle lengths for turning or other reasonable purpose.

2. Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, it shall be the duty of a driver of a motor vehicle to take such action as may be necessary to avoid a collision, and the breach by a driver of any motor vehicle of any of the provisions of this section shall not exonerate the driver of any motor vehicle from the duty imposed on him by this section.

Section 64

(2) Any constable in uniform on showing his authority as a member of the Constabulary Force may arrest, without warrant, the driver of any motor vehicle, who, within the view of the constable, commits any offence under the provisions of this Act, as to reckless or dangerous driving or careless driving, unless the driver either gives his name, date of birth and residence or produces his driver's licence for examination and the constable is satisfied as to the identity of the driver of the motor vehicle.

Section 67

(1) It shall not be lawful for:

(a) more than one person

(in addition to the driver) to be carried on any two-wheeled motorcycle;

(b) any person to be carried otherwise than by sitting astride the motorcycle and on a proper seat securely fixed to the motorcycle behind the driver's seat;

(c) any person to cause a two-wheeled motorcycle to be driven on one wheel only

Section 72

(3) The driver of a motor vehicle shall cause every passenger who is being conveyed in the motor vehicle to wear a seat belt.

Section 73

(1). The driver of a motor vehicle that conveys a child shall cause the child to be conveyed in the prescribed child-restraint system.

Section 74

(2) The driver of a motorcycle shall cause every person who is riding as a pillion to wear a protective helmet in the prescribed manner at all times when riding on the motorcycle.

Section 89

(3) A person shall not pour any petrol or other fuel into any tank of a motor vehicle or into any receptacle in or on a motor vehicle while its engine is running, or when any naked light, other than an electric light, is alight in or on the motor vehicle.

Section 92

(1) A person commits an offence if he promotes, organises or takes part in any race, sporting event or trial of speed on a road, unless the prior written consent of the Road Authority is obtained, and where the race, sporting event or trial of speed will take place within the area

of jurisdiction of any local authority, the prior written consent of such local authority shall also be obtained.

Section 114

A person who is unable to sign his name shall, whenever his signature is required upon any document in terms of this Act, impress in the place thereof his left thumb print upon the space within which he would otherwise have been required to sign his name ...

Section 121

(1) Subject to subsection (3), a person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle on a road while using and electronic communication device whether by holding in one hand or both hands or with any other part of the body or otherwise unless the electronic communication device is

(a) attached to the motor vehicle or is part of a fixture in the vehicle and remains affixed while being used or operated;

(b) specially adapted or designed to be affixed to the person of the driver as a hands-free device and so used, to enable the driver to use or operate the electronic device without so holding it.

2. A person who is in a motor vehicle in the capacity of an instructor shall not hold or use an electronic communication device in the manner referred to in subsection (1), while he is instructing the holder of a learner's permit.

Next week: More of the new Road Traffic Act.