Fri | Oct 19, 2018

No penalty without warning for electrical defects - Jackson

Published:Friday | November 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

MEMBERS OF a joint select committee of Parliament examining the Road Traffic Act Thursday signalled their strong objection to any provision in law that imposes a fine on motorists for electrical defects of a motor vehicle, without first issuing a warning ticket.

Member of the committee Fitz Jackson said he was unequivocally opposed to any automatic imposition of demerit points for particular electrical defects on a motor vehicle such as lights without a system of warning.

He argued strongly that lights should not incur automatic demerit points deduction as electrical parts, even if new, could become defective without any warning. Jackson told his colleagues that in many other jurisdictions, a warning is issued by the police and if the defect is not corrected then subsequent action is taken.

?It is grossly unfair for the State to impose that on people,? Jackson stressed, noting that the technology that makes bulb does not provide any guarantee that the item would remain workable for a particular period of time.

However, committee chairman Dr Omar Davies wanted to know what provisions would be in place to prevent motorists from continuing to drive the defective vehicle.

Explaining, Jackson said the warning ticket should state the date the motorist was warned and the time given to correct it. ?They would go to a police station and show it has been fixed,? he added.

?I rather 10 guilty men go free than punish an innocent man,? he stressed.

Andrew Hylton, another committee member said the provision in law should be revisited to remove the imposition of demerit points for such an offence.

During deliberations on defective vehicles, Dr Davies asked senior police officers from the Police Traffic Division whether action was taken against police personnel driving defective police vehicles.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Gary McKenzie said, ?As soon as the check is done when they are about to go on duty and that is recognised, the following day it is taken to Transport and Repairs; it is not used on the roads.?

?And then we awake from the dream,? Davies quipped. However, McKenzie later clarified that he was commenting on the process that should be followed to get defective police vehicles repaired.

But Davies insisted that ?It seems unfair and unjust for someone in an unfit motor vehicle to be prosecuting ... its just wrong.?