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Bunting bats for revamp of ticket law

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 11, 2014    

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UNDER the new Road Traffic Bill provisions, late-paying traffic tickets holders may not have to go to court.

Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security, says that the new Bill will include provisions for motorists who fail to pay the ticket fine on time, to pay extra for missing the deadline, instead of being automatically referred to the Traffic Court.

"One area it will enhance is the payment of traffic tickets," the minister told the House of Representatives' Standing Finance Committee (SFC) reviewing the 2014/15 estimates, on Tuesday.

"Right now, if you don't pay the ticket within the 30 days at the tax office, you've to go to the court...but that creates a backlog in the court, and one of the amendments (will be) that where the payment is late, it can still be made at the tax office, but the figure will be increased," he told the committee.

He said that other provisions will include: preventing motorists from obtaining new or renewed driver's licence, once they have accumulated a number of unpaid traffic tickets; and, allow motorists to pay the fines online by credit cards, instead of having to go to the tax office.

"We got the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) and the Transport Authority (TA) to put in place administrative mechanisms, where they are not going to renew licences for operators who have a lot of unpaid outstanding tickets...and as part of the process to renew private, commercial or PPV drivers' licences, one criteria that will be taken into account is the number of tickets the driver has received and the number of unpaid tickets he has have accumulated," he explained.

He said that he expects the long delayed bill Bill to be tabled in Parliament, shortly.

Bunting also explained that the government collected $400 million from the traffic ticket amnesty in 2012, a far cry from the almost $2 billion predicted by his predecessor.

He said while the police are still able to collect on the outstanding "amnesty" tickets", which are those due prior to September 2010, the collections have come to a trickle, compared to the amnesty period. But, there has been an increase in revenue from tickets issued under the new system.

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