Police Force to ‘step up’ traffic enforcement

--emphasis being placed on reckless driving, educating road users

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To tackle the alarming rise in road accidents, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will be increasing enforcement and according to Commissioner of Police (ag), Clifton Hicken, reckless drivers will face the full force of the law.

“Driving recklessly without any consideration, it leads to people grieving and loss of life…People ought to be held responsible. We are going to do everything we can do,” Hicken said on Monday in a video posted on the GPF’s Facebook page.

He was at the time appealing to road users to exercise the five Cs – care, caution, consideration, common sense, and courtesy – when using the roadways.

The top cop had just met with the family of Corporal Alden Reynolds who lost his life last week after he was involved in an accident. Another rank, Sergeant Javon Thomas, was also injured.

Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken

“Not everything we are going to lock somebody up. We are going to keep reminding you that there are ways to use the road to get from point A to point B safely but if we see you are driving recklessly, you are going to face the full force of the law,” Hicken said.

In a general sense, the GPF will be “stepping up” the enforcement as it relates to road safety and stricter penalties are expected to be implemented, the top cop emphasised.

This, he said, is catered for in the recent amendments made to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Cap. 51:02 by the government.

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

The amendments also allow for a person’s license to be temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the case and an increase in fines for breach of traffic regulations.

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.

The fines have now been increased to not less than $200,000 for first-time offenders and $300,000 for second-time offenders.

Hicken further stated that the Road Safety Association will also be decentralised to all the regions, as was already done in Georgetown.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that we create a contemporary Police Force and so traffic enforcement, while it is ongoing, we are trying to work closer with the Road Safety Association…We want to have all the regions with road safety associations,” the Top Cop said.

“We want them to speak to the schools, we want them to speak to the churches, we want them to speak in the community. We want everybody to understand that if you don’t use the road with care and consideration, you are going to injure or kill other people innocently and there are consequences for that,” he added.

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs disclosed that there has been a 100 per cent increase in the number of fatal accidents recorded between January 1, 2023, to February 18, 2023, when compared to the same period in 2022.

Data revealed by the ministry revealed that 16 persons involved in 14 accidents during the stated period died when compared with eight deaths reported from seven accidents in 2022.

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