Amid increased public pressure, the Government has indicated that it will amend the regulations under the New Road Traffic Act relative to a car restraint system for children under 12 years old.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a hastily called press briefing on Friday afternoon at Jamaica House, hours after the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said it would exercise some discretion when issuing tickets to operators of public passenger vehicles who do not comply with the requirement for child restraint systems.
(1/2) We have decided to make adjustments to the rule that requires all vehicles including public passenger vehicles to use a Child Restraint System – which might include carrying of a Booster Cushion. pic.twitter.com/7OIzQOFBUL
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) February 3, 2023
“The current situation with the provision for enforcement of a child restraint system in public passenger transportation, in its self, needs further review, and we have spent the last hour and a half in Cabinet going through it,” Holness said.
“… In support of the position adopted by the police and already explained, we have decided that we will make some amendments to the law, and we will do so as quickly as possible,” he indicated.
Holness said such amendments to the regulations could be done “very quickly by a ministerial direction, which may not necessarily need to go to Parliament, or if it does, as soon possible in Parliament”.
He admitted, as well, that there has to be further discussion around safety in public transportation.
“That will need a much wider debate, and possibly an amendment to the law itself, not just to the regulation, but the Act itself, which may come in a month or two or so,” stated Holness.
There has been outcry for the child restraint system to be examined, as children and their parents have been denied access to taxis.
The reason is because such operators fear being fined under the new Road Traffic Act and Regulations.
Under Section 73 of the legislation, motorists who do not have appropriate child restraint systems when transporting children 12 years and younger will be fined $5,000.
The Government on Thursday pledged to review the stipulation next week.
In a video statement on Friday afternoon, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) of the JCF, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Gary McKenzie, said the police will use their discretion in issuing tickets in relation to that specific regulation.
“As a result of this ongoing review, the police will use their discretion in relation to the seatbelts and the child restraint systems and will allow public passenger vehicles to operate as it were under the old law until that review has been completed,” he stated.
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