The Senate has approved the amended Road Traffic Act, which has new offences, larger fines and harsher penalties for motor vehicle operators who breach the law.
The Upper House voted yesterday to approve the six amendments made by the House of Representatives which passed the Bill in November. The debate in the Senate had been postponed for two weeks after protests by taxi drivers, upset over some of the provisions.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill through the Senate on Friday December 7, said too many lives are being lost on the roads, due to “bad driving practices,” and a signal is being sent that offenders will no longer get away with “light fines.”
She said fatalities on the road this year had already surpassed the 322 who died last year and the projection was for as many as 371 to die this year in road crashes.
“We have to take hold of this culture of indiscipline and bad drivers must be called to answer for their wrongs. If we do not fix the system that allows them to hide from the law and have fines that are light, then they will operate with impunity,” the Senator told the Upper House.
She added that the new legislation is not targeting taxi operators or any particular sector, or even to generate revenue.
Also speaking in the Senate where Opposition Senators K.D Knight and Wentworth Skeffery. Knight called for removal of corrupt police and also for officers to exercise discretion in ticketing. Skeffery said the New Act by itself and the higher fines would not bring the changes required.
By: Franklin McKnight