Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Gaps exposed in suspension of driver's licences

Published:Friday | December 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

HEAD OF the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), Ludlow Powell, has revealed gaping holes in the process of suspending driver's licences, saying his agency does not get information from the courts until a year or two after the suspension of the permit.

"The records come to us late and are submitted with incomplete information from the court's office," Powell told members of a joint select committee of Parliament examining the new Road Traffic Act on Wednesday.

He said the ITA has written to the chief justice to address the matter but, to date, nothing has changed.

The ITA executive director conceded that a driver whose licence has been suspended could go through his period of suspension with the court alone having knowledge of it.

"We will get something from the courts to say this person is barred from holding a driver's licence for X period, but we get no photograph or TRN, so it does not help us," Powell added.

Lorraine Graham, a manager at Tax Administration Jamaica, said her department is responsible for endorsing the licence, but gets it from the ITA when the driver completes his period of suspension.

NO ELECTRONIC SYSTEM

Committee Chairman Dr Omar Davies wanted to know what system was in place to ensure that drivers who had been barred from the nation's roads for a specific period are prevented from driving.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Gary McKenzie of the Traffic Division acknowledged that there were weaknesses. He said there is no electronic system to inform the police that a particular driver has had his licence suspended. The senior cop said only the police officers who took the matter to court would be aware of the suspension.

However, McKenzie said the police attempt to address this flaw by insisting that motorists have their licences with them at all times.

Davies reminded the senior cop that his department told the committee at an earlier sitting that the police have no record of doing follow-up checks on drivers who are obliged to produce their licences within five days, as stipulated by law.