Fri | Aug 18, 2017

New Road Traffic Act draws closer

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Debate on the new Road Traffic Act is expected to continue in Parliament today, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness scheduled to make his contribution.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said the bill will shortly be passed by the House of Representatives.

The Government and transport officials have been struggling to contain the carnage on the nation's roads, with data from the Ministry of Transport showing that the country recorded 377 fatalities from 320 accidents last year. This represents a decline from the 382 road deaths in 2015.

The proposed law comes with a plethora of new measures that impose penalties on motorists who commit offences set out in the statute.

Use of cell phones

For years traffic cops have raised concerns about the practice of motorists driving while using a hand-held electronic device such as a cellular phone, which has been outlawed in some jurisdictions.

In the new legislation, motorists will face tough sanctions for using hand-held devices while driving.

Stringent fines will also be imposed on drivers who use electronic video devices within their line of sight while driving.

At the same time, Chuck has thrown his support behind a proposal by Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry, who had suggested an amnesty for delinquent motorists to clear all outstanding traffic tickets after the new law is introduced.

Henry had expressed the view that all motorists should be given the opportunity to start with a clean slate as the new legislation and regulations take effect, a move which Chuck endorsed while speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the newspaper's offices at North Street in central Kingston last Friday.