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Traffic Act adds new fines and teeth

Published 28th September 2012, 4:30 pm

The new Traffic Act and Regulations which comes into effect 21 September will be introducing new fines, increasing existing ones as well addressing anomalies in the act, such as clauses 79 and 80, which provide the Court with an option to convict for a lesser more serious offence.

Fines have been increased from $20 to $100 and $25 to $200. For instance, the fine for failing to comply with a stop signal was $20 is now $100. Parking 45 feet from a pedestrian crossing attracted a fine of $25 and is now $100.  The fine for failing to comply with a police signal in cases where they are directing traffic, or failing to give way to a police car was $20 and is now $200. This is the same for an ambulance or an emergency vehicle. Police records have increased from $10 to $25.

Another important change is that drivers who park in a disabled (handicapped) parking space can now expect to receive a ticket and pay a fine of $100. The other new fine is for the improper use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle, which attracts a fine of  $150.

Director of Driver and Vehicle Licensing David Dixon said this new Act""allows the Court the option to convict for a lesser serious offence, if there is not sufficient evidence to rise to the standard of causing death by dangerous or reckless driving, which is the case of Section 79.  

Section79 introduces the offence of causing death by careless driving or inconsiderate driving. This is an arrestable offence, meaning that an arrest can be made without warrant. It is triable on indictment and carries a maximum fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for a term of seven years. There is also a possibility of being disqualified from holding a licence for a period of at least three years.

Section 80 also allows the Court an option to convict for a lesser serious offence, if someone deliberately causes the death of another person while driving either unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured. This is also an arrestable offence.

Mr. Dixon explained the difference: “Dangerous driving refers to driver that caused a road death due to high speed and the manner of road driving without taking into consideration the conditions on the road and traffic etc., whereas death by careless driving or inconsiderate driving may happen in a low speed situation, for example when using a cell phone.

He noted that inconsiderate driving has been added to the careless driving and the differences are: “inconsiderate driving is when someone drives with their hazards on without having an emergency, or driving in a puddle and splashing a pedestrian or with their headlights on bright.

“These changes were recommendations made by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to address this anomaly in the current Traffic Act,” he added.