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Demerit points system for drivers soon

parliThe National Assembly has approved new legislation to introduce a demerits point system  in hopes that this will ease road accidents; the House also amended  the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Amendment Bill to expand the definition of owner of a motor vehicle to address headaches faced in criminal prosecution.

Both Opposition and Government sides of the House have voted in favour of a demerits points system

This is a system in which drivers are given points on conviction for road traffic offenses, the points are cancelled if conditions are met; if the points exceed a specified limit the offender may be disqualified from driving for a period of time, or the driving license may be revoked. The new legislation also makes provision for a person who applies for and obtains a license while being disqualified under the system to be fined and imprisoned for a further period of six months.

The Attorney General Anil Nandlall piloted the Bill.

Opposition Parliamentarians Winston Felix, while supporting the legislation, said in the event that a person is disqualified from driving for a period, this does not mean that when the period of disqualification is up he will automatically become a good driver and so he had a suggestion for the authorities.

The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic legislation was also amended to expand the definition of what it means to be the owner of a vehicle; that owner does not only mean someone in whom a vehicle is registered. The amendment now says that an owner could include a person who is in possession of a motor vehicle that is subject of a sales agreement, a power of attorney or a bill of sale, such as a person hiring a vehicle. The Attorney General said that the amendment was needed because many criminal cases have had to be cancelled because a vehicle might be registered in one person’s name but someone else uses the vehicle to commit a crime.

The Alliance for Change supported the Legislation, but its Parliamentarian Khemraj Ramjattan warned that some persons will even try to violate the new provisions, but he warned that the legislation could be further amended to deal with any new tricks.

A clause of the new bill makes it an offence if a registered owner of a motor vehicle that has been lost or stolen fails to make a report to a police station within seven days of loss or theft.

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