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Seatbelt, Helmet Bill before G-G

Seatbelt, Helmet Bill before G-G

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Persons found driving without using their seat belts or riding motorcycles or bicycles without using Bureau of Standards authorized helmets can soon be fined $2,000 for a first offence and up to $5,000 for any subsequent breach.

This is according to the new bill amending the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, which was debated and passed in Parliament last Thursday, June 29 and is soon expected to assent into law by the Governor-General.{{more}}

Minister of Culture René Baptiste made this amendment her personal crusade after she had to deal with the death of former Ministry of Tourism driver Darrell Sargeant on Thursday, January 12. Sargeant succumbed to injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on Saturday, January 7.

When she spoke to SEARCHLIGHT a few days after the bill’s passing, Minister Baptiste said that she is more than pleased even as she remembers Darrell whom she declared she loved as if he were her own son.

The bill fell under the ambit of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in his capacity as Minister of National Security, but Minister Baptiste was allowed lead of the discussions and she told SEARCHLIGHT that she is grateful for this.

According to the amended law, the driver of a motor vehicle should ensure that a child traveling in his vehicle is wearing a seatbelt or is conveyed in an appropriate child restraint system positioned in a rear seat or face a fine of $5,000. Persons riding on motorcycles are also expected to wear their helmets or face the $2,000 penalty.

Station Sergeant Richard Browne of the Traffic Branch of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Force applauded the passing of the new law adding that it long overdue. “We have been pushing for this for a very long time,” stated Browne. He said that the police had no doubt that if the driving public adheres to his law, it will significantly minimize road fatalities in St Vincent and the Grenadines seeing that 95% of these deaths are as the result of head injuries.

Browne also admonished the driving public to start following the regulations and not to wait until the law is enforced so that they could get accustomed to it. He told SEARCHLIGHT that the police would not like to encounter any problems with the public when the law is being enforced.

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