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ITA readies for new road act

Balford Henry

Monday, March 31, 2014    

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THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is still pursuing the draft of the long-awaited amended Road Safety Act, which is expected introduce major changes to the current road traffic act and regulations.

Auto understands that convinced by data suggesting that inappropriate human behaviour is the main cause of road accidents, the Bill is expected to focus on the need for improved driver education, training and certification.

A programme to modernise the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), which started back in 2005, has been slowly but steadily laying the basis for this new regime in road usage, primarily by updating the structural capacity of the agency, as it prepares for the changes to the Road Traffic Act in Parliament.

The ITA modernisation has started a process towards transforming it into an executive agency capable of financing its own operations. Progress towards both the modernisation and the drafting of the new Road Traffic bill has slowed immensely over the past decade, but with the likelihood of the new bill being tabled in 2014, the ministry is trying to rev up modernisation.

The developments have been highlighted by the improvements being made to ITA's examination depots, to boost efficiencies, improve service to users as well as the working conditions of the staff.

In addition to the upgrading of the office plants, the ministry is also ensuring improvement such as streamlining operating procedures, training personnel, providing technology and improving security of the facilities.

"Already, we have taken on board a new adult and compliance manager...who has been tasked with the ensuring that the operating standards and financial operations at all 14 depots are above board," minister without portfolio in the ministry, Dr Morais Guy, told a function recently to officially open the St Ann's Bay examination depot.

He said that there are plans to use the Information Management Department of the Ministry to install an electronic ITA management system which, when fully operational, will allow the ITA to electronically transmit and receive data from Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

He added that, in order to beef up security, a closed circuit television (CCTV) system will also be introduced to all depots.

"This forms just part of the initial steps at bringing the ITA into the 21st century by safeguarding the integrity of its operations and processes," Dr Guy said.

Five depots: Swallowfield and Spanish Town Road, Kingston; Spanish Town, St, Catherine; Montego Bay; and St Ann's Bay, have already been upgraded. Depots in May Pen, Clarendon, Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland and Port Maria, St Mary are next.

However, the bottom line for the development of the ITA into an executive agency will certainly require the passage of the Road Traffic Act amendments, which are expected to drag Jamaica into the modern era of road traffic management.

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