New Road Traffic Act takes effect today

Dr. Lucien Jones, Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council
By Prince Moore
There's high anticipation among road users about the implementation of the new Road Traffic Act which comes into effect today.
The updated law provides for stiffer penalties for breaches.
Transport Minister Audley Shaw on Tuesday outlined some key changes that are expected to directly affect the public.
The Transport Minister explained that under the new statute tickets may be served for offences detected by cameras, and the owner of the vehicle will be held liable, but the offence will not attract demerit points.
As it relates to cell phones, drivers will be restricted to hands-free use while driving. Mr Shaw said, where vehicles are not equipped for full handsfree operation, the driver must use blue tooth earpieces. 
In addition, there has been a review of the speed limit regime.
New speed limit classifications are added, with 65 kilometre per hour zones now being put in place where warranted, and a reduced 30 kilometre per hour limit in school safety zones.  
Motorcyclists are now limited to one passenger. Also, those learning to drive a motorcycle with a provisional license must be accompanied by a licensed motorcyclist on another motorcycle not far a way.
A seven member Road Traffic Appeal Tribunal has also been established. This will afford aggrieved motorists an avenue to appeal decisions of the Island Traffic Authority.
Mr Shaw said members of the tribunal have been identified and approval granted for their appointment.

Welcoming the implementation of the new statutory regime, the National Road Safety Council is hopeful that the provisions in the Road Traffic Act will enable safer practices among the motoring public.

Dr. Lucien Jones, Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council, told Radio Jamaica News that it's expected that the new provisions will help to reduce the number of road fatalities.


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