Motor Vehicle Officer Patricia Riley warns a motorist who was stopped during the official launch of the new Demerit Points System on the Audrey Jeffers Highway, Mucurapo, yesterday.

Jesse Ramdeo

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says the demerit points system has finally been rolled out at a cost of $12 million, which is significantly less than what Government anticipated.

During yesterday’s launch of the initiative, which is now part of the national road safety programme, Sinanan said he was hopeful the necessary behavioural changes will be made to reduce road fatalities.

“It is no longer about who could afford to pay and who can’t afford to pay, the entire system will work when you get the behavioral change. This is not a revenue generator for the Government, it’s about rehabilitating drivers and saving lives,” Sinanan told stakeholders at the event.

He said what was once earmarked as a one hundred-million-dollar project was brought down to just over one-tenth of that figure. Sinanan did not go into detail about what caused the project to be over budget but maintained no corners were cut in rolling it out.

President Paula-Mae Weeks on Tuesday proclaimed the amendments to the Motor Vehicle and Traffic Act 2017 which paved the way for implementation of the demerit points system and other road safety measures.

The ministry has also advised that the Red Light Camera Enforcement System will take effect at a later date to be announced.

Arrive Alive president Sharon Inglefield, who has been a main advocate for the system, applauded Government for its rollout and already has her sights set on further road safety improvements.

“We want to see the barriers, we want to see the traffic lights well maintained, because they all tie in the engineering,” Inglefield said.

While the demerit points system could bring the 19 per cent reduction in road fatalities even further, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said there are also benefits for law enforcement.

“If you remember, before police was hiding behind lamppost and jumping out but this device in my hand is not a cellphone, it’s technology and it means police can get back out and deal with situations with motorists.”

Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke also revealed sweeping changes are on the horizon for the acquisition of a driver’s permit. He said applicants will soon conduct an exam electronically since there continue to be issues with the current system.