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What signal is the Government sending motorists?

Monday, November 06, 2017

Dear Editor,

In many countries of the world the objective of a ticketing system for breaches of road traffic laws and regulations is to encourage compliance. However, in Jamaica, the objective seems to be the collection of outstanding fines with little, if any, consideration for influencing driving habits in the direction of obeying laws governing use of our roads.

How else can we make sense of the recently expired traffic ticket amnesty and the minister of national security giving active consideration to its extension?

In a country where too many drivers display scant regard for speed limits, signs, road markings, and anything else designed to bring order to our roads, our Government thought it prudent to grant an amnesty to drivers with unpaid traffic tickets dating from 2010. With the three-month amnesty coming to an end, it may be extended to facilitate those who could not be bothered to take advantage of the window of opportunity to pay outstanding tickets without incurring a penalty. Of course, nothing will happen to those who choose to ignore both. What a fillip for improved discipline on the nation's roads!

What signal is the Government sending to motorists? Could it be: drive as recklessly as you desire and, if you are ticketed, ignore paying the fine or contesting the ticket in court and await the next 'penalty-free' amnesty? Remember, the just-ended, soon-to-be extended amnesty is the second one in less than 10 years.

The Government appears to be more concerned about collecting rather than influencing behaviour towards a desired objective. My heart bleeds for the motorists who received a traffic ticket in 2010 and promptly paid it. If they only waited seven years they could have paid it without penalty! Was it the current leader of the Opposition who once opined that he who plays by the rules gets shafted?


Wayne R Plummer

Portmore, St Catherine


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