Motorists along the Solomon Hochoy Highway.

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Now that the amendments to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act (MVRTA) are law, police and licensing officers will begin adding demerit points to motorists who violate the law.However, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said that red light and spot speed enforcement cameras and RFID tags for vehicles would be implemented in the next two months. Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Sinanan said Parliament still has to debate the use of the spot speed cameras. He said cameras are already installed and there are more to come. President Paula-Mae Weekes proclaimed the amended Act yesterday, and Sinanan said enforcement begins today. He believes the new Demerit Points System and UTurn System would help to make the roads safer and put T&T on par with developed countries.“What we have now is a system at the Licensing Office that incorporates TTPost, the Police Service and the judiciary. For the first time, we are all working under one platform. It will make it significantly easier for law enforcement. More importantly, it is a system that will rehabilitate errant drivers and will make our roads a lot safer than they were before,” Sinanan said.Under the Demerit Points System, errant motorists will have points added to their record at the Licensing Office. Another aspect of the new fixed penalty ticketing system is that motorists will no longer have to go to the courts and can use TTPost outlets to pay traffic tickets. Additionally, many of the traffic violations are no longer criminal offences.Head of the Ministry of Works and Transport’s legal department Marvin Gonzales said that under the Act, not all violations carry demerit points. Gonzales encouraged citizens to examine the Ninth Schedule of the MVRTA to learn more. He explained that points remain on a motorist’s driver’s permit for two years and once there is no further violation, their record will be reset.If a driver accumulates between 10-14 points, his or her permit will be cancelled for six months; between 15-20 point, suspension for a year and 20 or more, two years. When the two-year suspension expires, the points reset. Gonzales said this was a key feature of the system as it allows for the rehabilitation of errant drivers so there would be better and more responsible drivers on the roads.“If one accumulates over 20 demerit points, just as the driver would have committed several violations over a period of time, the law provides that the licensing authority will approve the necessary rehabilitative programme for the driver during the period of suspension. “The driver will be required to participate in a rehabilitation programme as well as to re-sit his or her driver’s regulation before he or she is reissued a driving permit,” Gonzales said.Addressing public concern over receiving tickets via mail and the reliability of the address database, Gonzales said that in Phase II, once the traffic enforcement centre gets the video footage of the violation, it is analysed. Once they confirm the offence, the vehicle data is examined at the Licensing Office to ascertain the owners and address. A special TTPost courier will then deliver the ticket. According to MVRTA, the State is not confined to delivering the citation at the registered owners’ addresses but also their workplaces or other addresses. Gonzales said it can be published in the newspaper as well.He said licensing office on a drive to update data as well as making it simpler for the public to update their information.