Speed guns are to be introduced on T&T's roads and highways on Monday in an attempt to significantly reduce the incidence of fatalities, Works and Transport Minister Fitzgerald Hinds told a news conference yesterday.
The speed guns, a device used by police to measure the speed of moving vehicles, will be in effect after the legal order is gazetted on Monday.
Hinds and senior police officers are appealing to motorists to drive within the 80 kilometres per hour (kph) speed limit on the highways and 50 kph on main roads to avoid being arrested and fined.
Hinds spoke about the initiative at his London Street, Port-of-Spain office yesterday.
The speed guns will be able to take a picture and have the relevant information available to present to the offending driver instantly. If the offending driver refuses to stop at that point he will be stopped by police officers at a nearby location. The relevant information will be emailed to the second officer for presentation to the offending driver. A fine of $1,000 is the penalty for the ticketed offence.
Hinds said speeding was the cause of 55 per cent of the accidents on the nation's roads, adding that Cabinet on Thursday approved the introduction of the devices.
Hinds was expected to sign the order yesterday. He said once the order is published on Monday, it will go into effect and police officers were being encouraged to implement it with "full force." Hinds said many of the accidents resulted from "bad behaviour" by motorists and they can be prevented.
"The law, as of Monday, will permit the police to use these speed-measuring devices to manage bad behaviour and excessive driving on our nations roads," the minister said. He called on citizens not to be irresponsible on the roads this weekend, adding that the speed-measuring devices were "a check and balance on bad driving" along the roads.
Hinds said police officers were "adequately and suitably trained" to use the devices and they will enforce the law "with full force."
He said weak or non-existent law enforcement was a major cause of some of the nation's problems and urged the police to redouble their efforts to enforce the law.
In response to a question, Hinds said he was not aware of any public outcry over the existing speed limit.
Earlier, Hinds indicated that there was a lot of "bad behaviour" on the roads and motorists must now change that because accidents are preventable.
The new device is being implemented to ensure drivers who exceed the speed limit will be captured by a camera and intercepted by officers.
Road safety non-governmental organisation Arrive Alive has been calling for this device to be introduced in this country. Yesterday President of the group, Sharon Inglefield, was unavailable for comment when the T&T Guardian attempted to reach her but at a road safety conference last week the group released statistics that indicated in 2015, there were 127 fatal road accidents in which 146 persons lost their lives. Thirty two per cent of these belonged to the 24-35 age group; 88 per cent were males while 12 per cent were female.
Speeding was the reason behind 55 per cent of all fatal accidents, while alcohol was responsible for 30 per cent of fatal accidents.
Under the new system drivers caught driving over the limit will be given a ticket with evidence to support the charge.
Hinds advised that motorists should not use this weekend to be taken as a free for all to speed on the nation's roads.
According to Hinds, statistics obtained at one speed trap at an unidentified location in the country showed that when the limit was set at 80 kilometres miles per hour, more than 500 people were in violation.
Hinds said he has not heard any public call for the 80 kph limit to be increased but if it is raised it will be given the required consideration.