Fair Play on the Roads: JCF Addresses Concerns Over Traffic Ticket Issuance

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has recently announced a thorough review of how traffic tickets are issued to motorists seen with cellular phones while driving. This move follows rising public concerns about the fairness and clarity of the enforcement of the Road Traffic Act (2018).

In a statement released on Friday, the JCF high command acknowledged the importance of maintaining road safety and minimizing driver distractions, which was the primary objective behind enacting the Road Traffic Act (2018). However, they also recognized the need to ensure that the enforcement of this law is both clear and just.

Road Safety and Fairness

Since February 1, 2023, the JCF has been empowered to issue traffic tickets to individuals using cellular phones and other electronic devices while driving. This initiative aims to enhance road safety and reduce accidents caused by distracted driving. Yet, the JCF has been inundated with complaints from motorists who feel they were unfairly ticketed for actions that do not violate the law.

The high command noted several instances where drivers were ticketed inappropriately, including:
– Having a cell phone in their lap, pocket, passenger seat, or middle compartment.
– Using a phone after pulling off the road and stopping the vehicle.
– Having a phone mounted on the dashboard for navigation purposes.

 Clear Guidelines for Enforcement

In response to these concerns, the JCF has issued detailed guidance to its members to ensure traffic tickets are issued only in situations that align with the provisions of the Road Traffic Act (2018). Key points include:

– Drivers should only be prosecuted if the device is seen in their hands or if they are actively engaging with it, such as dialling, texting, or watching videos.
– Drivers can be prosecuted if using a device while in a live traffic lane, even if stopped at a light.
– Mounted devices displaying live images can also lead to prosecution.

The JCF high command assured the public of their commitment to fair and just enforcement of the law. Immediate steps have been taken to rectify any misapplications through internal communications and guidance to their personnel. Additionally, JCF members who fail to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary actions.

 Moving Forward

This move by the JCF high command is a positive step towards ensuring road safety while also addressing the public’s concerns about the fairness of ticket issuance. By providing clear guidelines and committing to fair enforcement, the JCF aims to build trust and cooperation with the public, ultimately contributing to safer roads for everyone.

As this new directive takes effect, motorists are encouraged to stay informed about the specifics of the Road Traffic Act (2018) and adhere to the guidelines to avoid penalties. The JCF’s proactive approach highlights their dedication to both road safety and justice, setting a balanced precedent for law enforcement on the island.