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More traffic cameras coming

By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 23, 2018

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ROBERT Montague, minister of transport and mining, told the House of Representatives recently that the ministry would be rolling out hundreds of new cameras over the next three to four months, across several towns islandwide.

He said areas like May Pen, Mandeville, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios already have the means to monitor traffic electronically.

“Therefore, the NWA (National Works Agency), through private partnerships, is moving to get the traffic cameras, separate from the normal CCTV cameras, to deal with the speed, the late change and stop light violations,” the minister said.

Montague cautioned the House that certain sections of the Road Traffic Act 2018 required regulations in dealing with use electronic devices, including traffic cameras, as against CCTV cameras.

He said that the capacity of the police to do electronic monitoring would increase and it would require new regulations for its effectiveness.

“It should also be known that the regulations are being drafted…we will have to wait until all the regulations are ready. As you know the process of this bill,” he added.

On another issue, there is still need for a full clarification of the amendment to the act which is to be debated by the Senate today.

Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, head of the newly created Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, said earlier this week that the amendments to clause 105, concerning who is liable for traffic tickets, do not mean that the owner of the vehicle will automatically become responsible for paying the fine, but would become so if the police is unable to locate the driver.

However, the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine learnt yesterday that there is a technicality in the amendment which has to be explained by the Transport Authority.

The ministry confirmed late yesterday that a statement clarifying the matter would be released as soon as possible.

The amendment, which was passed in the House of Representatives last week, was that clause 105 (2) would have been amended to state, after the words “the person”, “or in the case of an offence detected by such electronic means as may be prescribed, issue to the owner of the vehicle”.

In addition, there is an amendment to be inserted as subsection (16) which says that where a notice (ticket) is issued under subsection (2) to the owner of a vehicle:

(a) The provisions of this Act shall apply as if the owner of the vehicle was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the commission of the offence in respect of which the notice is issued; and

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the provisions of section 98 (demerit points on conviction for certain offences) shall not apply to the owner of a vehicle to whom a ticket is issued under subsection (2).”

But, in subsection (1)(b) there is an insertion after the word “vehicles” which reads, “the electronic detection and recording of offences committed against this Act and the method of charging for such offences”.

The eighth schedule deals with the use of the electronic and monitoring devices, and according to the amendments, the monitoring and inspection including by electronic monitoring and surveillance, and the installation on, or near, any road, such devices will have to be approved by the minister in the regulations which are forthcoming, for the purpose of detecting or recording, by electronic means, offences against the act.

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