Wed | May 23, 2018

No way to two days - Government senator against proposal to give drivers time to produce licence

Published:Monday | May 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Sinclair

Government Senator Charles Sinclair has rejected an opposition proposal that a two-day grace period be provided to motorists to produce their driver's licence when stopped by the police.

The proposed fine under the Road Traffic Bill is $10,000 on spot for failure to comply.

"You're going into a vehicle to drive it. How can you possibly, except out of tremendous carelessness, forget your driver's licence? C'mon, man," said Sinclair, as the Senate debated the bill last Friday.

"It is similar to the Firearms Act. The Firearms Act requires and makes it mandatory for the licensed firearm holder to have his licence about his person."

 

PLEA FOR LENIENCY

 

Opposition Senator Wentworth Skeffery pleaded for leniency, arguing "the majority of Jamaicans are not lawbreakers, and each time we have a problem with the minority, then we become oppressive on the majority. So I'm saying, I understand the purpose, but let us reduce it from the (current) five days to the two-day period."

K.D. Knight concurred with Skeffery, adding that the law should not force motorists to always have their licence with them. He suggested that a photograph of the driver's licence or another document should be accepted by the police to confirm the driver's identity. Knight also questioned the need for the provision.

"I don't know, for example, whether there' s a high incidence of persons being given time of five days to produce the licence, and don't. We don't have any statistics here to suggest that. So it's a wrong that we are trying to address without really knowing whether or not it is pervasive," Knight said.

The debate on the bill, which will replace the Road Traffic Act of 1938, was suspended in the Senate and will continue on a date to be confirmed.

brian.walker@gleanerjm.com