Bill tabled seeking suspension of license for fatal drunk driving, police to ensure breathalysers’ accuracy


Two months after the Cabinet gave its approval for amendments to be made to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, the Amendment Bill was tabled in the National Assembly on Monday.

In addition to the already publicised manslaughter charge, more jail time and increased fines proposed for drunk drivers, the anticipated Bill also seeks the suspension of driver’s licenses for fatal drunk driving.

According to the suggested amendments, if a person finds themselves before the court for a second time, charged with causing someone’s death while under the influence of alcohol, that person faces the possibility of having their license suspended.

In the first instance, a person convicted shall be disqualified from holding or obtaining a license for three years. If the person is convicted again for a similar offence, the person shall be permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a license.

But even before the determination of the matter, the court can order that the person’s license be surrendered as soon as practicable.

A person who fails to surrender their license commits an offense and can be fined $100, 000 or imprisoned for a period of three months.

Guyanese had long proposed that the laws be changed to ensure that errand drivers could face the possibility of having their driver’s license suspended.

The proposed amendment also places the responsibility of traffic ranks to ensure that before using a breathalyser instrument, it is in satisfactory condition and calibrated so that it produces an accurate breath analysis result.

In an effort to reduce road fatalities and accidents caused by drunk driving, the government had earlier revealed several proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Cap. 51:02 which will see harsher penalties and fines for persons convicted.

If amended, drunk drivers can face increased jail time, permanent revocation of their driver’s license, “motor manslaughter” and causing grievous bodily harm charges.

This new section also provides that where the jury or magistrate is not satisfied that the person’s driving was the cause of the death or the grievous bodily harm, but is satisfied that the person is guilty of driving under the influence, the person can be convicted.

Increased fines

Currently, the penalty for driving under the influence and losing control of the vehicle, is a fine ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 or imprisonment for 12 months and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, there is a fine ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 and imprisonment.

It is now proposed that the fines will be increased to not less than $200,000 for first-time offenders and $300,000 for second-time offenders.

Persons can also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for 12 months.  Where the person is convicted for two consecutive offences, the person shall be disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for 24 months, and where there is a third conviction, the person shall be permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence.

Meanwhile, the current penalty for persons found driving above the prescribed alcohol limit is $7,500; the proposal is for it to be increased to $200,000 and the disqualification of licence where the person is charged with two consecutive offences from 12 months to 24 months.

As a result of this amendment, the prescribed alcohol limit now means breath alcohol concentration, 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath or blood alcohol concentration, 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

The draft bill can be accessed on the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs website and submissions and recommendations are hereby invited within 21 days from the date hereof to

Additionally, these draft Bills will be circulated to relevant national stakeholder organisations for their submissions and recommendations within a similar timeframe.



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