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National Assembly approves points-system law for drivers

Attorney General Anil Nandlall making a point in kicking off debate on the points-system for drivers

Parliamentarians on Thursday unanimously approved a points-system for drivers of motor vehicles to help curb the “unusually high incidence” of road accidents.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall piloted an amendment to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act to pave the way for the introduction of the demerit system.

Broadly, Nandlall said drivers could be disqualified for six months if the record 10 or more but less than 16 points. He said that as the gravity of the offences increase and the points correspondingly do so, the period of disqualification will become more serious and lengthy.

In terms of ticketing offences, the Attorney General said the police officer in charge of the station would be required to take steps to record the points and inform the licensing authority.

If a driver is eventually disqualified, he or she could write the licensing authority to seek redress failing which he or she could appeal to the High Court.

In situations where a Court has convicted and punished a driver as well as award points including disqualification for a period of time or permanently, the driver could appeal the decision right up to the highest court, said Nandall.

He explained that if an appeal is filed, the demerit system would not apply unless the conviction is upheld.

APNU Parliamentarian, Winston Felix said those suspended for six to 12 months based on the points system should be trained by a credible system. “At the end of the day errant drivers at their expense ought to pay for the cost of their own training at the end of which it will determine whether they should return to the streets,” said Felix, a former police commissioner.

Responding, the Attorney General said that as a matter of policy, the police force or the licensing authority could take steps to offer remedial training.

The Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act was also amended to artificially regard as an owner a person who uses a vehicle for committing a crime.  As currently structured, the police experience grave difficulties in investigating crimes when the certificate of registration, agreement of sale or hire purchase agreement is on someone else or entity.