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A police officer takes information from a driver along Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, during a road traffic exercise in November.

Law enforcement officers have issued close to 85,000 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) or tickets to errant drivers and traffic violators so far this year.

Outside of this alarming figure, 336 motorists had their drivers’ permits (DPs) disqualified. The permits of 7,332 drivers are also pending rulings for disqualification.

The tickets were recorded from January 1 to November 30 under the Demerit Points System (DPS) which was implemented last June.

From June to December 2020, approximately 54,000 drivers were slapped with FPNs for committing road violations.

The DPS is a modernisation of the traffic ticketing system under the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act.

A list of 82 traffic offences committed by motorists, passengers and taxi drivers obtained by Guardian Media showed that 84,568 road users had been ticketed for infringements over this 11-month period.

The biggest traffic violators were “drivers and any passenger over the age of 17 years and over” who failed to buckle up while a vehicle is in motion.

As a result of their non-compliance with the law, 14,874 drivers and occupants were charged for not wearing seatbelts.

The violations ranged from drivers not wearing suitable attire, overtaking traffic, failing to comply with a traffic light, driving with defective fittings, carrying persons in a dangerous manner and driving a vehicle with a child in the front seat who is five years and under.

The list identified drivers who “breached traffic signs” as the second-highest offence, with some 8,773 motorists being issued tickets for this offence.

Trailing behind was 7,651 motorists who obtained tickets for “exceeding the specified speed limit by ten to 20 kilometres per hour.” In fourth, some 4,919 motorists were issued FPNs for “holding or using a cellphone while driving.”

Routine checks by law enforcement officers on the nation’s roads resulted in the discovery of 3,583 drivers with no valid insurance policies.

A close examination of the extensive list revealed that 3,178 drivers who were caught using the Priority Bus Route (PBR) without an authorised pass had been charged.

When a traffic ticket is issued, the information is transmitted to TTPost, the Judiciary and the T&T Police Service.

Traffic offences and violations carry prescribed demerit points which are documented on a permit and recorded by the Licensing Authority.

Just seven demerit points can cause a new driver to lose his/her licence. Using the PBR without a pass, for example, carries six demerit points and a $2,000 fine. The disqualification of a permit can range from a period of six months to two years depending on the driver’s infractions and points accrued.