Archive for June, 2014

2014 Toll increases coming to Jamaica

Friday, June 13th, 2014

It is that time of the year again in Jamaica and the toll rates are under review.  It is proposed by Toll Authority of Jamaica that the Portmore leg of the Highway, it is proposed that the toll for class one vehicles be increased by $20, class 2 vehicles $30 and class 3 vehicles $70.

This would means that for the Portmore leg rates will move from $150, class 1, $230,  class 2 & $450, class 3 to $170, $260 and $520 respectively. Theses increases are in the range from 13-15%.

Now in  a time when in dollar has been devalued by over 12% between June 4, 2013 to June 3, 2014. These increases will hit motorist hard.

Jamaica Drivers Face Traffic Fine Hike

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The Jamaica Gleaner today reported that under the new proposed Road Traffic Act, Jamaican drivers could face massive increase in fines. There is no doubt that strong measures need to be in place to deal with indiscipline motorists. 

Therefore while I have no problem with adjusting the fines, I believe the level of increases are ridiculous and might lend to increased corruption rather than achieving increased compliance.

A few issues stand out. These are speed limits, signs & speed traps, certification of speed guns and enforcement. 

Speed Limits
The speed limits in my view need to be revisited as some of the areas that are 50 km/h hours zones should be 80 km/h or 65 km/h. In protest, motorists should deliberately drive at the speed limit.  

Speed traps
Speed traps, aptly named, have been the feeding trees for corrupt cops and complicit motorists. With the increased fines and devaluation of the dollar, this increase will likely carry more motorists to the dark or left side. But the major point is that these are often set up just after the transition from 80 km/h to 50 km/h where the signs are often obscured, deliberately to catch motorists who are unaware. New signs need to be added so that motorist see a sign saying you are approaching a 50 km/h zone before you see the 50 km/h sign, thus allowing time to transition. The areas around the signs need to properly manicured and signs themselves properly placed and bigger.

Certification
I have long question the accuracy of the speed guns. I once was stopped by a police man who accused me of going about 77 km/h , in a 50 km/h zone, after starting from rest, up a hill, with the police in full sight. I laughed and protested that it was not correct and I am would challenge it in court. After a while he relented and I was able to go my way. Who certifies the speed guns and how often is this done? Can I now use the computer data in my car to challenge the police? (This could backfire on me)

Enforcement
We have so many laws in place with little enforcement. Stricter enforcement while maintaining the same levels of fines would go long way. Cyclists are still riding around with no lights. Where is the action and what is the fine? Pedestrians still walk in the road, where are the jaywalking laws?  By the way, do silent zones still exist? Enforce the current laws or else even if the fines are moved higher there might be no change in behavior.

Many of the perpetual offenders are well known to police. We have seen reports of persons with 50,60, 100 outstanding tickets involved in accidents? How is that possible? Fix the ticket system and make the penalties work.
I suspect that if approved the traffic courts will be busier and the prisons will need extra spaces as with the increased cost of living and devaluation many Jamaicans will simply not be able to pay the monetary fines.
I hope they are not looking at these fines for budgetary support, as I will continue to make every effort to evade these fines.

Fines under the new Road Traffic Act

Offence      Proposed     Current fine
Driving or using motor vehicle without valid certificate of fitness $10,000   $3,000
Driving vehicle without it being licensed    $30,000  $10,000
Failing to obey red lights and stop signs         $24,000 $4,000 (stop lights)
$1,000 (stop signs)
Exceed the Speed limit by 50 km/h $45,000 $15,000
Exceed the Speed limit by 16-32 km/h $15,000 $5,000
Driving or attempting to drive motor vehicle under the influence of drink
or drug
$50,000  
Failing to obey other traffic signs   $16,000  
Driving and using a hand held electionic device e.g. Cell Phone $10,000  
Having a car television within the line of sight of the driver $13,000