0

Hang Up And Drink Up Too: Drivers Face Ban From Using Phones And Booze In Cars

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PROPOSED amendments to the Road Traffic Act will make it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using a cellphone, or with an open alcoholic beverage. 

Failing to “immediately” produce one’s drivers licence and insurance certificate when asked to do so by police will also become illegal as the Minnis administration eliminates provisions that gave drivers two days to produce such documents in order to escape penalties. 

The Bill tabled yesterday makes it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using an electronic communication device, “whether by holding in one hand or both hands or with any other part of the body or otherwise,” unless the device is attached to the motor vehicle or is a part of a fixture in the vehicle.

The legislation further requires “the device remain affixed while being used or operated, or is specially adapted or designed to be affixed to the person of the driver or operator as a hands-free device and is used to enable the driver or operator to use or operate the electronic communication device without holding it”.

Driving instructors also will be prohibited from holding electronic devices under the bill but the stipulation will not apply to those driving emergency vehicles or a vehicle that is lawfully parked and not impeding traffic. The penalty for contravening these provisions will be a fine not exceeding $1000.

If the bill becomes law, it will also become illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage while driving.

The amendment, tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, also prohibits people from obtaining a licence if they have outstanding fines or have not paid the requisite fees. 

Fees are not applicable to the Governor General, members of the diplomatic, administrative or technical staff of a diplomatic mission, any consular officer or consular employee, any member of an international organization responsible for external affairs or any member of the “family forming part of the household” of non-Bahamian citizens in the aforementioned groups. Such people will not be required to pay a fee to receive their licence. 

Presently, drivers have 48 hours to produce a licence and insurance certificate. The bill permits the police to arrest someone they suspect has failed to produce these documents in an attempt to deceive or avoid a penalty. Otherwise, people who have not produced the documents will escape arrest if they produce the documents in 24 hours. 

The penalty for not producing an insurance certificate will remain the same––a fine of two hundred or imprisonment for three months or both.

The fine for not producing a driver’s licence will also remain the same at $40.

The Objects and Reasons page of the bill says: “This Bill seeks to amend section 21 of the Road Traffic Act to make the failure of a driver to produce his name and address, the name and address of the motor vehicle or certificate of motor insurance in respect of that motor vehicle, a criminal offence.”

Comments

rawbahamian 1 year, 1 month ago

The question now is, if these do make it into law then will it be actively followed and carried out ?

0

Sickened 1 year, 1 month ago

LOL! We all know the answer to that.

1

BahamaRed 1 year, 1 month ago

Please... 50% of the people driving have no license or it's expired, 65% have no insurance, and at least 40% have no license or insurance, and 90% of Bahamians drive with open containers of alcohol.

Good luck with this... smh

0

infoseeker 1 year, 1 month ago

Does that make any of this right?? We need to start taxing people who want to be taxed. Break the law, and pay a fine. You voluntarily would be giving the government your money.

0

Sickened 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope that new act has some teeth, like giving the police the authority to tow and impound the car immediately if it is not licensed or insured. But I doubt it. I won't even bother reading the act because I know none of the police will read it.

0

bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

IT APPEARS THERE ARE OUTSTANDING......22,000......WARRANTS.....even if there iis some mistake......say 1/10.........??? ....and if the present proposed fines are not paid.....will they then be added to the backlog......???....

0

The_Oracle 1 year, 1 month ago

Interesting, as I was told by someone a couple months ago that they were fined for not having their license on them. I had not seen any such change to the Road Traffic act gazetted, but then, do they properly gazette anything anymore? Turns out it wasn't law yet! Always laughed that it was illegal to be caught drunk while driving, but not drinking while driving! There endeth the "to go Cup" I was rear ended by a drunk once, wrote his truck off, damaged mine. Accident cop was told he was drunk and told me not to claim that, as his insurance would be invalid!

0

TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Why Why Why if this is the parts of the hotel's purchase the Imperial red shirts crown ministers just couldn't find way keep secret off floor of what was once upon time before 10 May 2017, the Comrade People's Honourable House of Assembly... can you imagine what they don't never ever want it be the Comrade People's Time to ever ever know about. I think most know why why why these 35 Imperial red shirts MP's - does belong to against they will - be made board bus for ride up to that terrible walled-in place be sent away for long long 5 term - life time.... but whatever you do - do not allow them teach fellow patients - no courses in mathematics. Amen!

0

ashley14 1 year, 1 month ago

And we ask why? Unbelievable!

0

John 1 year, 1 month ago

Can see a law requiring you to produce a driver's licence on the spot with 12 hours grace. Sometimes you do get into those situations where you rush out the house without your wallet. And there are women who have 6 and 7 handbags. So a 12 hour grace period should be considered. As for insurance, Insurance companies are telling you to keep the insurance certificates in a secure place and not in your vehicle. So does this throw that advice out the window? And what about persons who may drive a service vehicle, like a delivery truck? They jump into the vehicle assuming the previous driver left the insurance in the vehicle only to find it is not there. And the main office is closed over the weekend So he gets a ticket for up to $200.00. Twice in a year and he is unemployed and broke. What is the difficulty with giving the driver 224-48 hours to produce? We adapt laws designed for the US where there are multiple states and thousands of miles of driving. And persons will avoid states where they know they have outstanding warrants. Our laws were designed to driver friendly to allow drivers to be compliant and not rack up a bunch of traffic fines (some on technicalities) that they cannot afford to pay and so they must give up their driver's licence.

As for the open container law, many who would stop and get a cold on on the way home must will now have to wait until they get home to have a cold one. This law will require a serious cultural shift. People who go party hopping or even beach hopping must now do it without a cold one in the vehicle. Drunk driving vs drinking while driving. Will this cause a person to hoorse back there beers then jump in his car to try get somewhere?

0

ashley14 1 year, 1 month ago

My entire life we have been required to have our drivers license on us and proof of insurance. There is also a no open containers. These laws are totally enforced and it's not hard at all. You take your wallet everywhere you go. As far as drinking alcohol they will take you to jail for a mandatory 24 hrs if caught drinking and driving. Plus the attorney costs for you and fines for DUI add up to around 10,000. I'm not exaggerating. That's why we don't have all the nonsense that is ignored in the Bahamas. You have to have rules and for them to be enforced to live in a safe society. Our cops take their jobs seriously. I won't say there aren't any crooked ones, because there are, but it's a minority. I don't have a problem with following the rules. It makes life better for everyone.

0

John 1 year, 1 month ago

BTW Toyota is recalling several 2017 vehicles that may catch fire. The Toyota 4 Runner and elantra among them as well as some Lexus models. Brake fluid leaks on to circuit board and may cause it to catch fire. Toyota advises parking your vehicle outside until you get it fixed.

0

Islandboy100 1 year, 1 month ago

These expats always telling our government how to lock up Bahamians

0

TheMadHatter 1 year, 1 month ago

I guess when you cant solve the big problems, you go play in the sandbox with the kiddies.

Hey, PM, if you lost your priority list of top ten problems, give me a shout. I can fax one right over to ya.

1

sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

Well .......... in Long Island, the Road Traffic guy issues receipts for expired car and drivers' licenses ........ and it can take 3 months to get a renewal ........ Will Police honour RTD receipts??????? LOL

0

bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

Now erryone will be driving a vehicle wid heavily tinted windows........mind you even dst supposed to be illegal.....

0

SP 1 year, 1 month ago

Meanwhile, in the land of reality, illegals and jackasses will continue breaking every traffic law imaginable and there still won't be a police around to catch them!

Less blah and more action would be a welcomed change.

2

rawbahamian 1 year, 1 month ago

So does this mean that the police walking up and down Bay St. Looking down at their cell phones will stop doing that and actually pay attention to what is going on around them ?

1

DDK 1 year, 1 month ago

"The fine for not producing a driver’s licence will also remain the same at $40." Is this not a bit on the low side?

0

ashley14 1 year, 1 month ago

This would be great if it worked. No wonder everything is disaster. If Disney came to the islands you wouldn't want to work for them. They are going hold you to your responsibilities. How can law enforcement hold you anything if they give you time to come up with your license. They would never see you again. Your Country is paying a high price lack of commitment to yourself.

0

Sign in to comment