The Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Works has proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act to regulate the use of cell phones and other gadgets, which can contribute to accidents.
Director of the unit, Kenute Hare, noted that the proposed amendments to the Act should be in place by August 2011.
“What it’s going to do is regulate the manner in which cell phones are being used by motorists. It will deal with gadgets in the motor vehicles, which cause distractions, for example DVDs. We will ensure that these devices do not play when the driver is operating the vehicle,” Mr. Hare said during an interview with JIS News.
The Director also noted that safety standards will be put in place for tyres. “We are going to ensure that there is a tyre standard. Presently, we do not have proper tyre standards and the one that we have is archaic and we are going to change that. The minimum thread depth for a tyre is going to be 1.6 millimeters and so once you fall below that, you will be in breach of the law and sanctions will apply,” he explained.
In the meantime, Mr. Hare informed that the police will be given more powers as it relates to their operations on the roads. He added that the Road Safety Unit is to intensify its road safety education programme going forward.
“The reason why we are going to intensify it is because the long arm of the law will follow right behind this education programme, so for those who don’t hear, they will feel. They are going to be punished, the tickets will be issued and the judicial system will have no mercy upon persons, who believe that they can create imbalances within the traffic environment and get away with it,” Mr. Hare warned.
The mission of the Road Safety Unit is to promote and foster an orderly and disciplined traffic culture that is conducive to the development of a safe traffic environment, through the conceptualization, design and dissemination of a sustained programme of public information, education in schools, legislation, accident information and research.
The Unit had aimed to keep road fatalities below 300 for the year, however this target was missed as 309 persons have died on the nation’s roads, as at December 30, 2010.