POINTING out that a flaw in the law is hobbling the efforts of the authorities to revoke the licences of reckless drivers, stakeholders in the transport industry are calling on the Government to fast-track a new Road Traffic Act that has been in incubation for nine years.
Leading the charge for the legislation to be fine-tuned and brought into effect is executive director of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) Paula Fletcher.
"...know that when you go out there, there are people who are not supposed to be on the road, but there is a problem with the law and the way it was written. I have said there is a lot of blood on our hands if we continue to operate in a system that allows for that," Fletcher said at the Jamaica Observer's weekly Monday Exchange yesterday.
She bemoaned the fact that the changes to the law were proposed almost a decade ago.
"The Government has promised to enact it by the end of this fiscal year. It is advanced now, but it has been in gestation since 2004," Fletcher said.
A particular bone of contention is the difficulty authorities have in revoking the driver's licences of repeat offenders, especially those who work in the public transport system, who rack up dozens of traffic tickets but still drive on the nation's roads.
A flaw in the legislation has rendered authorities powerless to revoke those licences, Fletcher said.
"We can't remove these people, unfortunately. We cannot, under law, in terms of those who have reached the 14-point threshold which would allow for the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) to suspend their licences, because of an error in the law, which did not give them the power to suspend your licence," she told reporters and editors.
Licences of public passenger vehicle drivers are issued by the ITA.
Fletcher said that flaw would be corrected when the new Act is passed, but the longer policymakers procrastinate, more lives are going down the tube.
Two weeks ago, four students of Holmwood High School in Manchester -- Shakeria Muschette, Okeen Gordon, Kimona Levy, and Tameka Peart -- lost their lives in a horrific collision on the Chudleigh main road in the parish.
Both drivers involved in that crash had accumulated more than 250 traffic tickets and were not supposed to be behind the wheel of a public passenger vehicle.
Yesterday, Fletcher also called for road safety to be placed higher on the national agenda.
"We need to get that across to the policymakers," she said.