It took more than four years, but the overhaul of Jamaica’s road safety legislation has finally received parliamentary approval.
The Road Traffic Act 2018 was passed in the House of Representatives late yesterday, replacing the 80-year-old Road Traffic Act.
The new legislation, which is to be signed into law by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, outlaws the use of hand-held devices by drivers and provides stiffer penalties for speeding, the none wearing of seat belts and other traffic offences.
In addition, the revised law makes it clear that the Island Traffic Authority is the entity responsible for the regulation and control of traffic on the nation’s roadways, ending a debate among law enforcement .
“I would like to express our disappointment on our side on how long it has taken for us to complete all the work that is to be done with this Road Traffic Act,” Opposition spokesman on Transport Mikael Phillips said during the debate in Parliament on the proposed bill.
The amended Road Traffic bill was first proposed in 2014 and placed before a joint select committee of Parliament for review.
The committee completed its work in February 2015, but it took nine months before the proposed legislation was approved by lawmakers in the Lower House.
When Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 2016 General Elections the bill fell off the order paper.