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Tickets in mail for traffic light breakers soon

Published: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi piloting traffic legislation during yesterday’s sitting of the Senate. PHOTO: OFFICE OF THE PARLAIMENT

Move over Property Tax—Government’s next big revenue earner might be coming from traffic fines under upcoming Motor Vehicle legislation.

And under that law, if you break the red light in future you may be helping the state earn money.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi piloted the legislation in the Senate yesterday to introduce a new system of traffic violations.

He noted that revenue earned from traffic matters over 2010 to 2016 totalled $250 million—and that was when only 36 per cent of people complied and paid their “tickets.”

The AG said the judiciary’s 2011-2015 report also showed there were 120,000 traffic cases done over that period, netting $171m in revenue for the state. But again he noted the compliance rate among those who paid tickets was only 36 per cent.

Al-Rawi said the legislation seeks to introduce a system of traffic violations for certain breaches of the law. It decriminalises road traffic offences by converting them to violations. However, serious offences—blood alcohol levels, reckless driving, causing death—won’t be decriminalised.

The legislation particularly provides for implementation of a “red light” camera at traffic lights. If motorists break the red light, the camera will snap a photograph of their vehicle’s number plate. A report will then be sent via mail to the vehicle’s owners ,along with a notice of the breach of the law, the photo and details of the legal process to deal with the matter.

The legislation also introduces a demerit point system and fixed penalty system. It also provides for a vehicle’s owner and user of the vehicle holding a drivers’ licence to be liable for any breach committed via the vehicle.

Al-Rawi noted the judiciary’s recurring call for the large numbers of traffic matters in courts to be handled in way that won’t monopolise magistrates’ time. Over August 2010 and July 2016 there were were 67,926 cases concerning outstanding traffic matters, he added.

“We have a situation where people believe the criminal justice system won’t move as it’s overburdened,” he said.

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