Tickets issued under child seat law to be revoked

February 07, 2023
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In a statement to the House of Representatives  on Tuesday afternoon, Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw indicated that the Government is taking steps to rescind the 25 traffic tickets issued to motorists who had been penalised for transporting children without the requisite child restraint system.

The minister also announced measures that reverse the previous requirement in the Road Traffic Act that mandated the use of a child restraint system to transport children aged 12 and under.

In announcing the changes, Shaw also told his parliamentary colleagues that over the next three months the Government will be reviewing other sections of the new Road Traffic Act that have been the subject of controversy since the law has been implemented on February 1.

Following backlash from public transport operators, Shaw said that a new arrangement will be introduced making reference to the type of child restraint required for the conveyance of children based on age, and size in different types of vehicles.

Under the updated requirements, the transport minister said that in relation to licensed public passenger cars or buses, children under one year must be restrained by an adult.

Children aged one to three years may travel with no restraint or be restrained by an adult.   Three to six-year-olds may travel without restraint, restrained by an adult or a lap belt while six to nine-year-olds may travel without restraint or with a lap belt. Children over nine years may travel without restraint, with a lap belt or a three-point seat belt.

Additionally, Shaw said that only children who are of the weight and size to use an adult seatbelt are permitted to travel in the front passenger seat.

Shaw made it clear that where an adult is restraining a child, the adult should not be seated at the front of the vehicle. Children under one year old are to be restrained by an adult in all forms of transport.

“In licensed taxis and buses, children are allowed to travel without restraint but where a lap belt is available, it should be used. If a child is of the size to use an adult belt, this may be used if available,” Shaw added.

The Government’s proposal received support from the parliamentary Opposition.

However, Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding sought to table a bill to amend the Road Traffic Act but ran into a chorus of objections from the Government side with its huge majority.

When Golding sought leave from the House to introduce the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 2018, which would among other things address the child restraint issue, members of the Government side called for a divide.

When the votes were counted there were 11 ayes for the Opposition, 29 nos for the Government with 23 members absent. The motion to grant leave to introduce the bill was therefore defeated.

-Edmond Campbell 

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