On the heels of much public criticism that followed the proposed amendments to the country’s traffic laws to charge motorists up to $1,000 for texting and driving, Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells said the amendments are long overdue, considering that laws to enforce cell phone use while driving exists worldwide.
The Bahamas, he said, is in fact behind.
Minister Wells said the steep price allows for an aggressive approach to tackle an ongoing problem. “We have to get folks to understand that we have to get serious about this. We have a very aggressive agenda about issues that matter,” he said.
“Bahamians would know the dangers in using their cellphones while texting. By the time we look up [from our phones] we are in the back of somebody’s car and we have to apply brakes. As a government we do not want anyone dying on these streets as a result of these kinds of things.”
The Transport Minister also stressed that the proposed bill still has not been enforced. “The Bill has only gone through first reading,” he said. “I hear all these things that this law is in place, but the law is not been enforced. As most Bahamians would know, the first reading is simply re-tabling the Bill and the second reading is the debate on why we support it and why we do not support it.
“I think that if you look at what we have done in a year you would see that this government has done more in the House of Assembly for passing legislation in one year than any other government. Let’s talk about the Bill once the Bill has passed and folks have debated it,” Mr. Wells said.
The proposed amendments also include the requirement to pay off all ticket offences before being able to renew your driver’s license.
Also, failing to immediately produce your driver’s license and insurance certificate when asked to do so by police will also be an offence, which makes provisions for officers to arrest someone in violation.
The changes also make it illegal to drive with an open container or bottle containing alcohol.