The nation awaits with bated breath the unveiling of the new Road Traffic Act, which makes its grand entrance two weeks before Valentine's Day.
The rush to clear up traffic tickets, "paid" and unpaid, have been giving gray hairs to court staff and police officers who work at traffic courts across the island. Drivers have been expressing confusion and are overwhelmed by the number of unanswered questions about their traffic tickets.
Some of the questions are:
*Was it an amnesty that the Government gave?
*Why can't I go to the tax office to pay the ticket?
*Why do I have to go back to the parish in which I got the ticket?
*Why do I have outstanding tickets when I already paid them?
*What will happen after February 1, 2023 if my tickets were not paid?
And the questions continue to mount.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has set up an app that can be used to check for unpaid tickets. However, while this system can be of help, it also creates confusion. People who previously went to court on a warrant and cleared up their ticket arrears are now seeing that their tickets are still showing up as unpaid.
The Court Administration Division (CAD) is trying to assist with the chaos by having court open on a Saturday. This resulted in a crowd as big as Hellshire beach turning up on a weekend. The extent of the crowd is an indication of the waiting time, which is upwards of five hours.
The bus and taxi operators dominate the courts with their toilet paper length reel of tickets and their rowdy behaviour.
The other motorist are of the view that this whole situation leading to a new traffic Act was brought about because of the behaviour of public passenger vehicle operators. It is sad that law-abiding citizens, for the most part, are caught up in the saga of a warrant nightmare brought on by indisciplined taxi and bus drivers. The fact of the matter is that the system is broken and there needs to be more thought given to the issue of how to deal with those with outstanding tickets.
The Government, however, is holding the hard end and not acceding to the Opposition's call to move the deadline to April Fools' Day. If the Government is contemplating taking this route, it would be better to make an exception so that the tickets can be paid at any tax office. And based on the long lines at the traffic courts, an extension seems imminent, Delroy Chuck.