THE FIXED fine and number of demerit points added to a licence will be determined by the extent to which a driver breaks the speed limit the TT Police Service (TTPS) has reminded the public. The system comes into effect on March 2.
The TTPS Road Safety Co-ordinator Cpl Brent Batson said the police felt compelled to issue reminders to the public about the penalties for speeding, reckless driving and drunk driving, given a 21 per cent increase in road fatalities for the year (compared to the same period last year) and because of the rising number of arrests and tickets being issued.
Drivers start with zero demerit points on their electronic record, with points added for a range of offences, such as speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and vehicle maintenance violations.
While no points are added for breaking the speed limit by under 10 km/h, the offence still carries a fine of $1,000. Fines for breaking the limit at faster speeds range from $1,500-$3,000 and add between two to six points on the demerit system.
The unauthorised use of the Priority Bus Route carries a stiff penalty of six points and a $2,000 fine. Driving without an inspection sticker and certificate adds nine points and a $1,000 fine.
Road Safety Co-ordinator Cpl Brent Batson, speaking at the briefing, said there has also been an increase in detection of drunk drivers.
"Even as police officers, we are not protected from the risk drunk drivers pose to road users," he said, citing a recent accident caused by a drunk driver, who committed the same offence before.
Two highway patrol officers were injured last weekend when a Nissan B14, driven by Stephen Lewis of Couva, crashed into their patrol vehicle at the Curepe interchange. Lewis failed a breathalyser test with a reading 88 microgrammes – more than twice the legal limit of 35. He was arrested and charged.
"(But) what was even more disturbing," Batson added, "was his previous conviction for DUI.
"The risk drunk drivers expose to other road users cannot be tolerated and again we are warning all drivers, the TTPS will focus on alcohol impaired drivers on the roadways."
Batson revealed that this year's victims comprise nine drivers, five passengers, two pedestrians and a motorcyclist.
Batson said all drivers must be alert and wary of drunk and tired drivers, returning home from Carnival fetes and offered tips to identify and avoid a drunk driver. "(Signs include) continuous lane drifting, inconsistent speeds, hitting the brakes unnecessarily, driving with headlights off at night and dangerous wide turning," he said, noting the signs also apply to tired drivers.