No new licences until April


No new licences until April

By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter

Friday, March 27, 2020

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The current suspension of testing for the granting of driver's licences, and changes to the process of the certification of motor vehicle registration will continue until April.

This was confirmed yesterday by the acting director of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), Donald Henry, in an interview with Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Henry said that suspension will continue until at least Wednesday, April 8, at which time a further assessment of the situation in relation to the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will inform a decision on whether it will continue.

The Ministry of Transport and Mining had issued a release earlier this month which stated that effective Monday, March 16, driver's licence testing would be suspended at ITA depots islandwide for 10 working days to March 27.

The ministry said then, that the move serves as a precautionary measure to safeguard customers and workers from the spread of the COVID-19, particular as it relates to crowding of the depots.

Earlier this week, the ITA also announced it had made a change in procedure for testing motor vehicles for certification of fitness. The authority said that this change had also been made as a precautionary measure to safeguard customers and workers from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We will not be test driving your vehicle. Instead we ask the customer to drive the vehicle to test the braking system. For the 10-day period, we have been asking persons to go into the test lanes and we give instructions on how to drive and apply the brakes for testing to be done,” said the acting director.

“We are able to determine if the vehicle continues in a straight line when the brakes are applied. When you brake, the vehicle should continue in the same path and slow down. It should not be pulling to the right or the left,” he noted.

He also pointed out that the examiners are trained to look for specific things, and that they are still able to assess the fitness of the vehicle without actually driving it.

He said that the measures will be reviewed in response to directives the authority receives from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on how government entities should operate during the COVID-19 period, especially in terms of the number of customers seeking these services.

“Persons are being asked to exit the compound as soon as they have completed their transactions, in order to make way for others who need to do business at the ITA, as we seek to maintain the limit allowed by law,” Henry said.

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