The cries of pregnant cancer patient Melissa Evans echoed throughout the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court yesterday after she was told she had to spend a night in prison after being denied bail in
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Speed guns to curb road deaths—Cadiz
Speed trap operations soon to be in force, will pinpoint any jamming or scrambling device used by motorists to block speed traps from zeroing in on them, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said yesterday. “So if you buy a jamming or scrambling device on-line or overseas, and use it, you’ll be stopped and charged for having this,” Cadiz added.
Cadiz made the point during yesterday’s session in the House of Representatives, Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, while piloting legislation to introduce use of the speed trap devices. He said police data showed excessive speeding was the cause of 55 per cent of road deaths. “This law will put control on our roads,...once we zap you, the record will be on the device and you won’t be able to walk away from this,” he added.
Cadiz said between 1958 and 2013 road fatalities had not dropped below 100. Cadiz said if speed was curbed in T&T, the road death figure may drop below 100. He said between 2011 and 2013 road accidents deaths stood at 181, 193 and 152, trending downward. He added there’s also been a nine per cent drop in the period up to March 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.
The insurance sector also showed an annual $400 m figure regarding accident insurance costs and that didn’t include the cost of looking after persons who were paralysed and otherwise incapacitated by accidents, Cadiz added. He also said there were many road deaths in Tobago. Cadiz said he was personally acquainted with the dangers of the situation since his own son managed to walk away from a car crash years ago and he himself had been given two speeding tickets while overseas in 1977.
The Minister said police will be trained to handle the speed trap devices and all information will be logged including the identity of the officer using it for checks. Officers will take pictures of the license plates of offending vehicles. In the course of conducting speed traps, he said officers will also focus on nabbing stolen vehicles. He said guns and drugs are often moved in vehicles and speed traps will also assist in disrupting this activity.
He said the net will also be extended to persons renting unlicensed and uninsured vehicles, a practice which is popular especially for short term liming periods.
...law unconstitutional says Imbert
Opposition MP Colm Imbert yesterday said the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2014 was “bad” legislation and should be “fixed” before being allowed to be put to a vote in Parliament. He also said the bill would require a special three-fifths vote to be passed. Imbert was contributing to the House of Representatives debate on the legislation, which seeks to authorise the use of speed detection devices to determine the speed at which someone was driving on the nation’s roads.
In presenting the bill, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said the current system of determining speed was outdated and the proposed measure was intended to remove “evil” from the nation’s roads—an obvious reference to accidents caused by speeding. While the minister said there has been a significant reduction in road fatalities in the country, Imbert said that was mainly due to the introduction of Breathalyser testing and convictions in the courts. Imbert said, however, the bill was flawed.
“You have run a foul of due process of the laws of evidence, transparency, fairness and natural justice,” Imbert added. He said that legislation altered the Constitution and would consequently fail to be effective if tested in court. “It is unconscionable that somebody can be convicted based on a measurement of as remote device without being given any evidence on the manner in which the device was used and its accuracy,” he told legislators.
Imbert said the Opposition was willing to help the Government as “it is just one or two clauses that need fixing.” The former works and transport minister also said there was need for simultaneous passage of regulations governing the training of the police officers with respect to the certification, calibration and testing of the device.”