The demerit points system comes into effect across Trinidad and Tobago from today.
The system, which is an amendment to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, was made in 2017 to monitor and encourage safer driving on the nation’s roads through strict penalties for breaches.
Its enactment has been delayed several times, having been postponed at least twice.
The first date for the points system was March 2.
However, on that day Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan announced the system would be postponed to April 2, to ensure that drivers got “their affairs in order”.
Later, the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions across the country caused the system to be delayed once again.
Last Wednesday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi as well as Sinanan announced that the programme was ready, and would take effect today.
How the system works
According to the Ministry of Works and Transport, each driver starts with zero demerit points on his/her driving permit record.
From there, demerit points can be accumulated on driving records for breaching traffic laws and regulations.
These demerit points are electronically calculated and recorded on driving permit records.
The more traffic violations or offences that are committed–such as speeding, unauthorised use of the Priority Bus Route, or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)-the more demerit points are accumulated on a person’s driving permit record.
Depending on the total demerit points accumulated within a three-year period, you can have your driver’s permit suspended for up to two years.
If your permit is suspended, you will have to undergo a rehabilitation programme before it is reinstated.
Traffic offences and what they will cost
1. Driving while disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit can see persons attain up to 14 points.
2. Exceeding the speed limit comes with a variety of fines and points.
If you exceed the speed limit by 1km – 9km, you will received a fixed penalty of $1,000, but no points.
Exceed the limit by 10 – 20km, the penalty goes up to $1,500 and sees drivers accumulate two points.
Exceed the limit by 21 – 30km, the penalty goes up to $2,000 and sees drivers accumulate four points.
Exceed the limit by 31km or more, the penalty goes up to $3,000 and sees drivers accumulate six points.
3. Motor racing and speed trials between motor vehicles with- out permission can see drivers fined $1,000 and accumulate six points,
4. Failure to provide a specimen of breath for a breathalyser test can result in a driver getting 14 demerit points, in addition to the penalty as defined by courts if the individual is found guilty.
5. Failure to produce a vehicle for inspection/driving a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker and certificate can see drivers face up to nine demerit points accrued, as well as a fine of $1,000.