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MLAs Endorse Traffic Amendments

Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew introduces the Traffic (Amendments) Bill, 2020 in the Legislative Assembly today, Thursday, 23 April 2020.

In an historic meeting of the Legislative Assembly, Members unanimously approved the onward passage of the Traffic Amendment Bill 2020 which will ease processes at the Department of Vehicle and Drivers Licensing.

Moving the amendment to the Traffic Law, 2011, Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew said the changes would provide the law flexibility and the ability to respond quickly during emergencies such as national disasters and pandemics.

Similar, legislative action was undertaken by the UK during the SARS pandemic in 2004 and the Cayman Islands bill is based on those amendments, he noted.

The amendment, once passed would give Cabinet authority to issue suitable instructions to the Director of Licensing both on issues or parts of the Traffic Law as well as Regulations, he added.

Notably, the local amendment allows vehicle owners to now renew online without their vehicles' certificate of roadworthiness being current for over three months. (Due to the COVID 19 office closures, vehicle inspections have been suspended.) Owners can then go online and complete the renewal process, Minister Hew explained.

The text as prepared, of Minister Hew's remarks to the House is provided below.

"Mister Speaker,

I lay before this honourable house, the Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

This Bill seeks to amend the Traffic Law, 2011.

It's meant to provide a quick response and flexibility to the Traffic Law in an emergency such as natural disasters, outbreaks and/or pandemics.

Where we haven't evoked the Emergency Powers Law.

Because of the current Law's inflexibility, owners are not able to renew online without their certificate of roadworthiness being current for over 3 months.

Other countries, such as UK & New Zealand amended their legislation some time ago.

For instance, the UK did it in 2004 - we suspect for the SARS outbreak.

As a result, they were able to quickly react to this pandemic. However, because it's difficult to predict every circumstance, we've made it broad enough to allow flexibility in various segments of the Law.

We recognise the impact of such a change, hence we have made the amendment specific to an emergency or natural disaster and that Cabinet give said directives.

Once passed, Cabinet will have the authority to issue instructions to the Director of Licensing on particular issues or parts of the Law and/or Regulations.

It will also allow for the said directive to be retrospective.

For example, in our current circumstance, once the Cabinet issues the directive, the Director can extend owners' certificates of roadworthiness by 3 or 6mths, (as cabinet deems necessary).

This will then allow owners to go online and complete the renewal process.

Finally, Mister Speaker, as a result of this amendment, we should be able to quickly respond to any future unforeseen circumstance.

It will lead to improved governance and customer service.

I now seek the approval of this Honourable House in passing:

A bill for a law to amend the traffic law, 2011 to give the cabinet the power to grant an extension of the period for compliance with, or an exemption from, any provision of that law or regulations made under that law in the case of a disastrous event; and for connected purposes.

Thank You, Mister Speaker."

GIS

For further information contact: Bina Mani