The Government has given due consideration to the principles of natural justice and social equity while balancing the urgent need for public order and road safety. I urge all Jamaicans to familiarize themselves with the new Road Traffic Act, and I strongly encourage those with outstanding traffic tickets to pay keen attention to the transition arrangements I have just outlined and act accordingly.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, this morning addressed the National Road Safety Council, where he outlined the transition policy for license holders who have accrued outstanding tickets. Prime Minister Holness expressed his concern that there may be members of the public who are misled to believe that a general amnesty has been granted and that they are not required to address outstanding tickets. He emphasized that the public should carefully note that no general amnesty has been declared and no special provisions have been made to facilitate any particular group.
To manage the implementation of the new Road Traffic Act, which was passed in 2018, the Government of Jamaica established a multi-agency task force which has been working to streamline the traffic ticket management system. This work will result in:
- the automatic and accurate update of the ticket database through the expanded use of electronic tickets;
- a complete and robust database of tickets issued;
- the automatic and timely issuing of warrants;
- the automatic suspension of licenses by the Island Traffic Authority due to accumulation of demerit points;
- an accessible database of suspended or revoked licenses; and
- the denial of renewal of licenses where there are outstanding tickets.
Ultimately, this will mean that traffic violators who ignore tickets will face certain arrest as warrants are more efficiently issued. Owners of motor vehicles could face denial of motor vehicle related administrative services such as renewal of licenses and registration of vehicles as there will be greater synchronization between licences, tickets, and motor vehicles databases.
In preparation for transitioning tickets issued under the old system to the new system, the multi-agency task force conducted robust data verification exercises on all outstanding tickets. The multi-agency task force advised the Government that for technical reasons, tickets issued before February 1, 2018 should not be transitioned for prosecution under the new Road Traffic Act, as a significant number of these tickets would have been issued under manual processes, before the implementation of various systems and administrative improvements. Therefore, outstanding tickets issued prior to February 1, 2018 will be voided.
However, all tickets issued as of February 1, 2018, that have not been resolved, are still valid and will transition to the new Road Traffic Act when it comes into force on February 1, 2023. All license holders with outstanding tickets, issued as of February 1, 2018, are required to follow the established legal process for clearing tickets which have passed the 21-day period allowed for payment at tax offices. Such persons are required to attend the designated court, appear before a Judge, and have the ticketed violations adjudicated.
The multi-agency task force also considered the demerit points associated with tickets issued since February 1, 2018. They advised that for technical and administrative efficiency, and for the avoidance of any unintended legal jeopardy to the license holder, demerit points associated with tickets that have been cleared, either by payment through the tax offices or through adjudication in the courts, should not transition to the new system under the 2018 Road Traffic Act. Therefore, demerit points accumulated against ticketed persons who have cleared their tickets before February 1, 2023, will have such demerit points expunged. As of February 1, 2023, all outstanding ticket holders will be prosecuted under the new Road Traffic Act and its provisions to treat with carried-over violations, including the application of demerit points and the suspension/revocation of licenses.
With the development of a comprehensive, accurate, and integral database, the Police now has information to create a priority list of egregious and dangerous repeat offenders who will be targeted for prosecution. For decades, Jamaica has struggled with an outdated legislative framework to address our traffic system.
The Prime Minister said;
“This is a watershed moment in our Nation’s march to more orderly, safe and secure public systems. The Government has given due consideration to principles of natural justice and social equity, while balancing the urgent need for public order and road safety. I urge all Jamaicans to familiarize themselves with the new Road Traffic Act, and I strongly encourage those with outstanding traffic tickets to pay keen attention to the transition arrangements I have just outlined and act accordingly.”