Key areas identified for modification under Road Traffic Act

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The comprehensive review of the Road Traffic Act 2018 and Road Traffic Regulations 2022 now underway has identified several key considerations for modification.

Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Minister,Daryl Vaz, in providing details during yesterday’s (June 26) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that the areas for modification include the renewal of driver’s licences for persons 70 years and older.

It is proposed that the process be modified to require the submission of a medical certificate proving that a person is fit to drive.

“A supplemental form will be introduced and the current form retained by the doctor as a guide on matters to be considered in determining the question of fitness,” the minister said.

Adjusting the applicable fees to be less than the amount charged for a five-year renewal is also proposed. This amount will be contingent on the lifetime of the driver’s licence of the elderly.

In addition, school zones will be implemented with modifications to state where they start and end. Provision will be made for pedestrian crossing and proper signage.

A comprehensive review of demerit points will be undertaken as it relates to fines and demerit penalties under the Road Traffic Act and Regulations by the Public Transport Operators Steering Committee.

“The recommendations are being reviewed by the ministry to be taken to Cabinet in short order. We have set a timeline for June 30,” Vaz said.

Concerning moving violations that cause accidents, fatalities and disorder on public roads, Vaz indicated that demerit points will be imposed for such offences.

For non-moving, static violations, such as faulty headlights, consideration is being made to remove demerit points for these infractions.

“Demerit points for non-moving offences will put drivers at risk of getting enough demerit points to lose their licence within a short period which is not the intent. The intent is to keep the roads safe and enforce discipline,” he pointed out.

He noted that under the current demerit point system, 23,243 licences currently would be eligible for suspension. Of that amount, 11,193 are for persons with public passenger vehicle (PPV) licences.

“This figure is reflective of persons who have PPV listed on their driver’s licence but are not necessarily operators in the public transportation sector, which means it may be less. So, we will be looking at that,” he said.

Turning to the provisions relating to the use of electronic devices while driving, Vaz noted that “there is a lot of ambiguity and complaints surrounding that offence. Revision of the Act seeks to remove the ambiguous nature of the offence. We are going to be looking to be more definitive in that”.