Be stringent in enforcing new Road Traffic Act

Be stringent in enforcing new Road Traffic Act

Thursday, May 17, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I listened to a panel discussion carried on the current affairs programme CVM Live on Tuesday evening about certain provisions of the new Road Traffic Act, which is about to be signed into law.

Among the panellists were Opposition Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns, who lamented the provision which makes a motorist liable to a fine of $2,000 for failing to present his/her driver's licence to the police upon request.

Frazer-Binns, among other stakeholders, contends that it would be unfair to penalise motorists who left their licences at home for some genuine reason.

She argued that there are many occasions on which she and other female motorists switch their handbags and forget to put the licence in the new bag.

I find this to be a weak argument and a poor excuse to not comply with the law.

It may be reasonable to accept on the first occasion, based on some compelling reason given, why one could not produce the licence to the police for inspection.

In such a case, the police should be able to exercise their discretion. However, that discretion should never be utilised on irresponsible motorists who habitually disobey the law. It should not become a habitual discretion that the police are expected to exercise.

The intention of the more stringent provisions of this new Act is to curtail the wanton lawlessness and disorder of the reckless motorists on our roads, who are causing the carnage and mayhem.

In maintaining law and order, the police must be able to validate whether a motorist is authorised to operate a motor vehicle on our roads. With that comes the responsibility of all motorists to ensure that they have their licences in their possession at all times.

If we allow arguments such as that posited by Frazer-Binns — that motorists who forget their licences should not be punished — then, eventually, the culture of indiscipline, which is very much ingrained in the society, will not be effectively addressed.

We are too far gone with reckless and discourteous motorists taking over our roadways. They are a nuisance who are killing off innocent, law-abiding citizens and causing major inconveniences.

An aggressive public-education campaign is required for the benefit of all. If motorists fail to comply with the law thereafter, then they must feel it in their pockets and lose their licences.

We must be responsible citizens.

Dujon Russell

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