Transport Minister Renward Wells.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
TRANSPORT Minister Renward Wells said yesterday any driver with a licence that expired during the COVID-19 state of emergency will not be penalised.
The provision will run until the 24-hour curfew is lifted and 60 days thereafter.
Speaking at Parliament yesterday, the minister announced several impending changes at the Road Traffic Department to facilitate the changing times brought about by the pandemic.
These include upgrades that allow drivers to upload information and register online for vehicle registration and renewal and allowing insurance companies to send information directly to RTD that advises of active or inactive insurance policies.
Provisions will also be made for various payments online like driver’s licence renewals. The minister said officials want this done by the end of this week.
“I must recall and confirm that all licences, whether personal or vehicular, that were valid on March 30th are extended until the 24-hour curfew is lifted and sixty days thereafter, “ Mr Wells said yesterday. “That is to say, drivers that meet this definition will not be penalised during this time for what would ordinarily be an offence.”
The new provisions at the department go hand in hand with a recently implanted curbside system at the national stadium where RTD operates.
“We recognise the need to re-engineer and enhance our services in this new dispensation in order to ensure the continuity of quality services in future. Hence, only newly imported vehicles will have to present to the Road Traffic Department to be licensed and inspected and too, for the relevant information to be inputted into the system.
“In regards to the renewal of vehicles registration, we are working with the Transformation Unit in the Office of The Prime Minister to devise a means by which the need for inspections could be devolved to government designated or authorised entities, mechanic shops etc. Once the customer has provided the Road Traffic Department with a letter from the reputable government designated agency who facilitated their vehicle inspection, then the licencing process will continue as is.
“This facet of the process is not unusual or far-fetched in that currently the Road Traffic Department’s policy mandates that in order to have a vehicle registered that has not been roadworthy or ‘on the road’ for more than a year, then a letter from your mechanic or mechanic shop would be required advising that said vehicle has been inoperable or off the road for the period in question; and that the vehicle is now repaired and roadworthy.”
Mr Wells said it was also his understanding the Insurance Association has agreed to a meeting that will discuss sharing information with RTD.
This will make it so that digital insurance policies could be uploaded directly from the insurance agency to the department. The feature to facilitate this will be included by May 1.
Insurance companies will also be able to digitally advise about those persons whose insurance has lapsed automatically, prompting the Road Traffic Department and the police to the lapsed policies.