New ticket system coming


New ticket system coming

Observer senior reporter

Friday, August 28, 2020

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LAST year, Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security, had high hopes that he would have had a fully operational traffic ticketing system in place.

“There is a traffic ticketing management system that was acquired from some time back, but the system was never properly operationalised,” he told the House of Representatives in the budget debate.

According to him, the necessary hardware and software were being sourced to ensure that there could be development and implementation of an electronic warrant module in the traffic ticketing management system.

“Once we can do that and ensure that those who receive tickets will, in fact, have consequences when they breach the Road Traffic Act, that will begin to restore order to our public highway, and the public will see a major difference in how they operate, and our public space will be safe,” he said.

He admitted that, there were four agencies involved in the ticketing process, but the process was dysfunctional and has resulted in errant drivers with traffic violations not being held accountable.

Well, fast-forward a year later, and the minister admitted, two weeks ago, that the ministry is working in partnership with eGov Jamaica on a pilot programme for a new hand-held Traffic Ticketing Solution, which will allow traffic cops to issue tickets electronically.

The pilot was launched with 100 smart android devices and portable printers which will allow the police to access the driver's vehicle information and ticketing history, at the same time. The devices will also help to eliminate inefficiencies caused by reliance on manual, paper-based ticketing and data entry.

Well, the announcement could not have been earlier for the director of the Road Safety Unit (RSU) at the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

In an announcement last Monday, he confirmed that road fatalities were close to passing 300, and was expected to do so within a month, unless there is some improvement in the quality of driving.

“We are providing the information for the people, that some 250 people are already dead and we are looking down the barrel. By the end of September we could have 300 deaths,” he cautioned.

But, it is not just the minister and the RSU, or even the National Road Safety Council, which is headed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who are concerned that the figure could pass 300 by the end of next month. The COVID-19 pandemic is draining the revenue system and there is a need to collect those thousands of uncollected traffic tickets.

According to the recently published Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ), there was a 47.5 per cent increase in vehicular collisions in 2019, and a 13.5 per cent increase in fatalities.

Of 3,839 vehicular collisions reported, 2,239 resulted in damage to motor vehicle only, 921 led to minor injuries for 1,792 victims; 278 serious injuries and 438 deaths.

St Catherine leads the list of fatal parishes with 15.1 per cent; followed by St Andrew with 11.6 per cent; St Ann 11.2 per cent; and Westmoreland at 10.3 per cent.

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