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Observing rules and laws while using roadways

Traffic offences – Part One
Monday, May 28, 2012
Law Made Simple

Motor vehicular accidents have increased in number and severity in recent times. This is a two-part article which touches on some of the laws that regulate the use of the nation’s roads. This week I address road traffic offences provided for by the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act.


Driving permit
People are not permitted to drive any type of motor vehicle unless they have a valid driving permit. A person who drives without a valid driving licence is liable to a $500 fine and a six-month term of imprisonment.


Every private car, public service vehicle and goods vehicle, must be fitted with a seat belt for the driver and every other passenger who occupies the front seat of the vehicle. Failure to have or use the seat belt is punishable by a  minimum $1,000 to a maximum $2,000 fine.


Speed limits
The speed limits on the nation’s roads differ depending on whether you are driving outside a built-up area (for example a highway) or inside a built-up area (for example a main road or a residential area). You should always obey the speed limits displayed on street signs. For a regular private motor vehicle outside a built-up area, the limit is 80 kilometres per hour and within a built-up area, the limit is 50 kilometres per hour.


Speeding is not only a criminal offence, but also a safety threat to every road user. Motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet. Failure to have this protective gear is a criminal offence. Additionally, it is illegal for more than two people to ride side by side on a motorcycle on the road.


Also, any person who rides a motorcycle or bicycle must not hold on to any other moving vehicle or ride without at least one hand on the handle of the bicycle or motorcycle. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a fine of up to $200.

Careless driving
Any person who drives on the road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road is liable to a fine of $1,000 dollars and potential disqualification from holding a driver’s permit. For some offences police officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices, commonly called tickets.


For example, you can get a ticket for speeding, breaking traffic lights, parking in no-parking areas, disobeying traffic signs and using the Priority Bus Route without a pass. Next week’s article will address the issue of dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.



This column is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should consult a legal adviser.


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