Motorists have been warned to start following the rules of the road from now because if they breach the law after May 26, their driver’s licenses could end up being suspended.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi —and Works Minister Rohan Sinanan—yesterday said in the Senate that Government’s demerit point system and fixed penalty system for motorists will now become law on May 26 after it was delayed in March.
Under the demerit system, drivers violating road traffic rules could face suspension of their driving permits for up to two years.
According to the system, drivers begin with zero points on their record and each traffic violation adds points to the record. More than 10 points but less than 14 within three years leads to suspension of the license for six months. More than 14 points but less than 20 within three years can lead to a one-year suspension. More than 20 demerits can lead to two years’ suspension.
The number of points that can be issued against a driver at any one time may vary from two to 14 depending on the seriousness of the offence or the number of offences.
A software management system – the “U-turn system—will record strikes against drivers via a framework which can be accessed on the field by authorities.
Al-Rawi presented proposed motor vehicle legislation regarding further areas, from new radio frequency identification (RFID) license plates to tints. The RFID plates will mark the start of a launch of an ‘Eyes Everywhere net, possibly from June,” he said.
Al-Rawi said the bill will reform areas, including in the criminal justice system and will “save lives and crush criminality” passing through transport routes.
It will also assist vulnerable and disabled people: the bill covers recognition of white canes to signify visually impaired people.
It’s also proposed that differently-abled people will have legal priority for parking which they don’t currently enjoy. Provisions also ensure parking in special circumstances such as for the very aged.
On the RFID plates, Al-Rawi said crimes are committed on the roads and people also use cars for getaway purposes in robberies.
“We want to track that using RFID tags to identify your position—an ‘Eyes Everywhere’ concept,” he said.
The system involves a chip placed in license plates. This will be done via a new registration system and information from chips will be recorded by equipment as vehicles pass along roads. He noted that the Licensing Authority and judiciary are connected via technology. Other clauses harmonise police and judiciary databases.
Motorists will now be required to change license plates and re-register vehicles every five years. New vehicles will fall under the new process and those already in the system will go through renewals in batches. The AG hopes electronic registration and tagging could begin by June.
Motorists won’t have to go to the Licensing Authority to make changes, as it can be done electronically, he added. However, failure to change license plates will be “treated with” in the law.
Motorists also wouldn’t be able to let anyone use the plate fraudulently. Plates will be the Licensing Authority’s property and it will be an offence to have imitation plates. Plates can be also customised at a cost.
Al-Rawi said the recently-passed Evidence amendment bill will now allow use of evidence from technology.
“So witnesses don’t have to step forward—a CCTV camera can capture this,” he said.
Other clauses will deal with how vehicle tints are handled. Al-Rawi said the “obscenity and indignity” of removal of tints from cars which have to park on highways for this—and big fines—will be gone. He said it was a ridiculous provision.
The bill also provides for spot speed cameras. Al-Rawi also said road deaths are down 12 per cent over 2015-19.