MOTORISTS with outstanding traffic tickets are being urged to pay up before December 1, ahead of the expected operationalisation of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2022 early next year.
This appeal comes from director of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) Kenute Hare who pointed out that under the Road Traffic Act, 2018, which the regulations bring into effect, the driver's licence of a motorist with one outstanding ticket will not be renewed.
"We are appealing to you, you know yourself. If you just suspect that you may have a little ticket and you forget, you can call the police, you can call ITA and we will help you…If you have concerns, whether you have outstanding tickets or not, you can contact the traffic department in the police force or contact ITA…We will try to help you as best as possible so you can pay up your outstanding traffic tickets easily," he said.
"What we are doing now, we are educating people and we are empowering the people to hurriedly use this month of November to pay up all your outstanding traffic tickets…You don't want to spend Christmas with police issuing a warrant for your arrest. Warrants could be issued on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Boxing Day," he added.
Hare was participating in a panel discussion during the staging of Red Stripe's responsible alcohol consumption and road safety town hall held at its headquarters on Spanish Town Road on Wednesday.
The ITA director also had some stern words for unruly motorists intent on not complying with the new regulations: "Them want to test us. Hear me, do not test us, because the long arm of the law will catch you…Don't come and ask for no bly, cause no bly not going to give," he warned.
Approved in Parliament in July, the regulations, which introduce new offences and increased fines for traffic violations, bring the Road Traffic Act, 2018 into effect.
Hare said that depending on the seriousness of traffic breaches, demerit points will be placed on motorists' licences which will also be suspended for up to two years.
"You see when this new Road Traffic Act [comes into] operation...anybody who reach the threshold [of demerit points], for a six months, one year or two years, you're going to have to retest. Regulation 167 states that you have to go to a certified driving instructor; you have to sit an Island Traffic Authority session," he said.
He also noted that anyone whose driver's licence is defaced or lost will not receive a new licence if the motorist has outstanding traffic tickets.
"We had 100 per cent persons apply for substitute driver's licence last month and only 61 per cent got it. Thirty-nine per cent didn't get it because they had outstanding traffic tickets," he said.
Under the Act, the ITA on considering an application for a driver's licence, under section 21 of the Act, may refuse a learner driver's application for a licence if found in breach; and a holder of a driver's licence who is accompanying the learner driver will be charged $12,000 if found in breach.
The law also states that "driving or attempting to drive the motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle is subject to a fine of $50,000 and, in default of payment, to 14 days imprisonment. Fourteen demerit points will also be placed on the licence and may lead to the suspension of licence for six months.