Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Monday, 27 November 2017 17:00

New traffic ticket amnesty starts today

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A new 45-day amnesty for persons with outstanding traffic tickets gets underway on Monday (Nov. 27).

Motorists with tickets issued from September 1, 2010 to October 31, 2017 can pay them without repercussion up to January 13, 2018.

On Friday (November 24), the Senate approved the Road Traffic (Temporary Ticket Amnesty Number 2) Act 2017, which facilitates the new period of amnesty. The Bill was passed in the Lower House on November 14.

State Minister for National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who piloted the Bill in the Senate, explained that following the previous three-month amnesty, which ended on October 31, motorists had appealed for additional time to fulfil their obligations.

As with previous amnesties, Senator Charles Jr. said the objectives are to enhance revenue administration and collection; allow persons to clear their driving record; improve the efficiency of the courts; and reduce the number of traffic cases before the courts.

“The Bill will facilitate the suspension of the relevant section of the Road Traffic Act to enable motorists holding unpaid traffic tickets that have become a matter before the courts to pay them at the offices of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ),” he said.

It will also allow for the suspension of the relevant sections of the Judicature Parish Courts Act and the Justice of the Peace Jurisdiction Act, thereby preventing the issuance of warrants by a parish court judge or a Justice of the Peace for the arrest of traffic ticket holders. In addition, motorists holding unpaid traffic tickets will be offered an amnesty in relation to penalty points being recorded against their driver’s licence.

The State Minister noted that during the amnesty, motorists will not be denied the option of contesting their tickets in court, however, they will be required to abide by the decision of the court and cannot thereafter utilize the amnesty offer.

He urged motorists to use the period to become compliant, warning that those who do not avail themselves of the amnesty “will be vigorously pursued by the strong arm of the law after the amnesty period is concluded.”

The State Minister informed that the monies collected will be used to purchase vehicles, equipment and technology for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); strengthen the cyber security network; upgrade the ticket management system used by the TAJ and the JCF; modernize the methods used by the Ministry of Transport and Mining to enforce the new Traffic Act; and modernise the court system and hire more judges.

In the meantime, Mr. Charles Jr. informed that security will be beefed up at the collectorates and additional cashiers put in place to deal with the large influx of motorists anticipated.

The previous amnesty period, which ran from August 2 to October 31, resulted in payments of over $590 million from the processing of more than 260,000 tickets. In addition, 45,000 calls were made to the Traffic Amnesty Call Centre.

Up to December 31, 2016, outstanding traffic tickets totaled in excess of $2.84 billion

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