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GOING HIGH-TECH: Licensing officers, at right, show road safety coordinator Brent Batson the information on one of the hand-held traffic ticketing devices yesterday after stopping a motorist on the Foreshore lay-by, Audrey Jeffers Highway, following the launch of the demerit points and traffic ticketing system. 

The new demerit points system is aimed at changing the behaviour of drivers and saving lives, not about making money for the Government.

This is according to Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, who spoke yesterday with the media at the launch of the demerit system at the Audrey Jeffers Highway, Mucurapo.

Present at the launch were Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke, road safety officer Sgt Brent Batson, and Arrive Alive president Sharon Inglefield.

“This is a great day for Trinidad and Tobago. And this right here, this is not a revenue earner for the Government. This is about saving lives,” Sinanan said.

He had high praise for those who worked in his ministry, noting that they were able to roll out the programme under a “tight budget”.

“What I can say is this project initially began years ago with a budget of hundreds of millions. But those in our ministry, our in-house staff, were able to use a bare budget, of about $12 million, and make this happen,” Sinanan beamed.

Griffith welcomed the new initiative, saying it was an example of the changing times and how technology could be used in the fight against crime.

“We are in changing times. In the era of technology, this is welcome. Just a few years ago police officers would be hiding behind a lamp post and jumping out with a stick and then having to use books and issue tickets via writing. This here is not a cellphone,” Griffith said, while gesturing with one of the new devices.

“This will ensure greater efficiency and will ensure that my officers can get back out on patrol quickly after dealing with a motorist. Above all it is going to save lives. This will act as a major deterrent. It will make sure that people are aware that there are now consequences for their actions. As we continue with technology it will act toward further reducing the road fatalities,” Griffith added.

As part of the launch, Sinanan and Griffith participated in a road traffic exercise, handing out flyers and speaking to motorists about the new demerit points system, as well as the new traffic ticketing system.

Overview of amendments

Amendments to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act (MVRTA) 2017 were brought into effect on May 26.

It allows for the implementation of a demerit points system, new traffic ticketing system and red light camera enforcement system in Trinidad and Tobago.

Errant drivers in violation of offences found in the Ninth Schedule of the MVRTA 2017 can have demerit points recorded on their driving record. Additionally, drivers who accumulate the maximum threshold of demerit points can have their driving permit suspended for a specified period.

Drivers issued traffic tickets as of yesterday can utilise 12 TTPost locations nationwide to pay traffic fines, via cash or LINX payments.

However, those issued traffic tickets prior to yesterday are required to pay their fines utilising the system identified by the Judiciary.

Citizens are reminded that those persons who wish to file a notice to contest a traffic ticket issued must do so via the online portal: https://contest.ttlawcourts.org.

It is hoped that with this new system, there would be a reduction of traffic matters – which represented an estimated 60 per cent of all cases filed at the magistracy.

This will create, for the courts, additional time and resources to tend to other cases and issues.

Tickets must be paid within 30 days of issuance. Thereafter, the fine for a traffic violation increases by 25 per cent for the period of 14 days. In the event that a person fails to pay the escalated fine, an additional 25 per cent will be added to the escalated fee.

The red light camera enforcement system will go live at a date to be announced.

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