Wed | Feb 19, 2020

New provision in Road Traffic Act fast-tracked

Published:Monday | January 20, 2020 | 12:09 PM
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Mining Dr Alwin Hales addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on January 17, 2020 - Contributed photo

A new provision in the Road Traffic Act (2018) that requires a potential learner driver to successfully complete the Road Code Test before being granted a provisional drivers’ licence has been fast-tracked to improve road-safety outcomes.                            

This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Mining Dr Alwin Hales at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on Friday.

He explained that the move was based on a directive from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague to take the necessary steps to bring the new process into operation by January 2020.

This, he said, came as a result of the Prime Minister being apprised of the constant threat to the preservation of life that was posed by motorcycle drivers perpetually utilising provisional drivers’ licences to operate motorcycles without any confirmed knowledge of the road code.                           

 “At the October meeting of the National Road Safety Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, the contribution of motorcycle drivers to road fatalities and crash-related injuries came to the fore,” Hales said.                                                          

“The provision in Section 23(1) of the Road Traffic Act (2018) was identified as a possible solution for addressing this gap,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary explained that the legislative basis for the January 2020 implementation of the requirement for the Road Code Test to be passed prior to an applicant being granted a provisional driver’s licence is an amendment to the 1938 Road Traffic Regulations.       

This was done based on the fact that it was more expedient, given the steps and processes involved in implementing the directive, utilising the Road Traffic Act 2018 by the January 2020 deadline, Hales said.                                                                                      

He further explained that the regulations under the 2018 Act to support this requirement are being finalised to be laid in the Houses of Parliament for affirmative resolution as required by Section 110(4) of the Road Traffic Act 2018.                        

Hales also pointed out that while motorcycle riders were a factor in the new requirement for the Road Code Test for applicants for provisional driver’s licences to be brought forward, it has in fact been a policy position of the Government for some time and this is a reflection of its entrenchment in the Road Traffic Act 2018.

“It’s an attempt to improve the cadre of persons operating on our roads with provisional driver’s licences. Whether it is an individual learning to drive a motor car or someone learning to ride a motorcycle, the overall objective is to improve road safety and save lives,” he said.     

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