by Linda Straker
- New regulation prohibiting persons using a mobile phone while driving a vehicle came into effect 1 February 2018
- Court fine maximum fine ranges between EC$3,500 and $5,000
- 4 demerits against the driving licence
A driver who violates the newly enforced rules prohibiting persons from using a mobile phone while driving a vehicle, will have the first option to pay a EC$150 ticket before going to the court, where the maximum fine will range between EC$3,500 and $5,000.
“Failure to pay the ticket within 31 days will result in the matter going to the magistrate court where the penalty will be fines and jail time,” said ASP Linford Kingston, Head of the Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
The new law which is an amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations was approved in both Houses of Parliament in 2017. The law which came into effect as of 1 February 2018 states that drivers should not be using handheld devices while driving. It also provides for drivers who are suspected to be under the influence of drugs, to mandatorily take a Breathalyzer test.
The ticket for persons driving private and goods/service delivery transportations is EC$150, while the ticket for public transportation such as buses and taxis is EC$500 per violation.
Kingston said that when the matter goes the court, private vehicles and goods service transportation drivers can be charged the maximum fine of EC$3,500 or three months in prison, while for public transportation its $5,000 or one year in prison. Both offences carry 4 demerit points on a licence.
Kingston said that once a person is fined by the court that person will also receive 4 demerit points against their driver’s licence. “When the points reach 14, a warning is issued to the driver and once it reaches 18 points that driver’s licence will be suspended for 3 months,” he said while explaining the points systems.
There are exceptions to the enforcement of this law, according to Kingston and these exceptions are: ambulance drivers, fire service vehicle drivers and police service vehicles. “The law also provides for the Minister of Transportation to give permission to any person, but as it stands right now, no one has permission from the minister,” he said.