By Sue-Ann Wayow
MORE than 600 tickets were issued to persons over the Easter weekend the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) reported on Tuesday.
The TTPS Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch arrested 15 drivers and issued 660 tickets between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Ten of the arrests led to charges of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after breathalyser tests revealed alcohol levels over the prescribed limit of 35 microgrammes.
Four people were also arrested and charged for driving a motor vehicle without a Driver’s License and another driver was arrested and charged for Driving While Disqualified after checks revealed he had exceeded the number of Demerit Points and had been disqualified from driving.
And 503 of the fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers exceeding the speed limit and 157 were issued for various traffic violations including failing to wear a seatbelt, holding or using a cell phone, defective tyres, no certificate of insurance, and no tail lights.
The 20 road traffic enforcement exercises were led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Specialised Support along with Senior Superintendent Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch Wayne Mystar. The weekend’s exercises included officers from the Traffic Branch Headquarters, Northern, Central, and South, and the Road Policing Task Force (RPTF).
There were no road traffic fatalities reported over the long weekend and there was a 38% reduction in road deaths nationwide, the TTPS stated.
Snr Supt Mystar, although pleased with these statistics, expressed disappointment that there was a continued lack of adherence to speed limits. “Seventy-six percent of the tickets issued to drivers by my officers were for exceeding the speed limit. That is unacceptable. Drivers must understand that speed control is a critical part of ensuring roadway safety and breaking speed limits is tantamount to recklessness and selfish behaviour and will not be tolerated by the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch.”
TTPS Road Safety Coordinator, Sgt Brent Batson, also added that there was a growing tendency for drivers to increase their speed at night when there was less traffic on the nation’s roadways. This has led to the Branch ramping up its speed enforcement exercises at night. This weekend, 30% of the speeding tickets issued were during night speed detection exercises.
He said, “Sadly we are still detecting drivers exceeding the speed limits by very dangerous ranges, in some cases as high as 160 km per hour, which can almost certainly result in death or serious injury should a driver lose control or be involved in a crash.”
He also reminded drivers that the number of demerit points issued for speeding increased incrementally based on the rate of speed recorded. Speeds exceeding the limit by 31 km per hour or more, could result in a fine of $3,000 and six demerit points.