Group call for recall of some licences, retraining of drivers

HEAD of Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services Egeton Newman is advocating a recall of the licences and retraining of a certain cohort of drivers whom he says were not properly assimilated into the public transport system.

According to Newman, drivers of public passenger vehicles (PPV) should undergo training and provide the authorities with certification that they have completed a short-term training programme — which should include a defensive driving component — before they are allowed to again drive PPV vehicles.“I think many people should be recalled, especially over certain age, or under certain age – under 40 – because many of them buy their licence like they are buying a tin of milk from a supermarket shelf. They should be recalled, tested, and after they complete the training, they are granted a licence again,” he recommended.

At the same time, he pointed out that the vast majority of crashes do not involve PPV driver, and that the retraining programme could be extended to other persons. “Ninety-seven per cent of the persons involved in fatal crashes are in the private transport system,” he said.

The drivers’ offences register, held by the Island Traffic Authority, will keep the name and address of licence holders; driver’s licence numbers; class of licence and particulars connected to it; the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle; their taxpayer registration number (TRN); the points assigned to the owner and driver of the motor vehicle; and nature of offences.

Meanwhile, Newman said his group welcomes the regulations to the Road Traffic Act and the introduction of the drivers’ offences registry.

“I think that it’s a good idea. Let’s say a driver has 80 outstanding tickets, I think the driver should be recalled and retrained and a special training programme be set up for those drivers — and not just for the public transport sector because regulations go for all motorists. We believe it’s an excellent idea,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

Newman added: “We are happy that the regulations are tabled after so many years and we are hoping that it will be activated immediately. We are not too sure it will be for the next couple of months but we are hoping it will help to reduce the carnage on our roads.”

Newman’s group represents more that 11,000 PPV drivers.The 2018 Road Traffic Act repeals and replaces the 1938 Road Traffic Act, establishes the Island Traffic Authority for the regulation and control of traffic on the country’s roads, and is aimed at improving road safety and transport efficiency. It also creates new categories of drivers’ licences, and attaches conditions for the granting of permits and licences.

Fines and penalties have also been amped up as legislators sought to modernise the law to include reclassification of the motor vehicle.

BY ALPHEA SUMNER Senior staff reporter

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