New road reg­u­la­tions to give war­dens greater pow­ers

● Points sys­tem to be ex­tended to all driv­ers

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

War­dens will be au­tho­rised to carry out breathal­yser tests and will also be granted the power to tem­po­rar­ily de­tain un­co­op­er­a­tive driv­ers un­til the po­lice ar­rive, ac­cord­ing to planned new traf­fic reg­u­la­tions.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Owen Bon­nici yes­ter­day launched a White Pa­per on the re­form of the coun­try’s traf­fic, which will be sub­ject to a 15-day pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ex­er­cise.

Dr Bon­nici said war­dens will have the power to carry out breathal­yser tests on driv­ers if there is rea­son­able sus­pi­cion that the per­son is driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence. If the driver re­fuses to take the test, or fails the test, the war­den will be able to de­tain that per­son pend­ing the ar­rival of the po­lice.

Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics pro­vided by the Min­is­ter dur­ing the press con­fer­ence, 183 peo­ple were ar­raigned based on the re­sults of breath­a­lyzer tests last year, of whom 104 were found guilty.

The pro­posed reg­u­la­tions also in­clude the ex­ten­sion of the pro­vi­sional points sys­tem to all driv­ers. The con­di­tions will, how­ever, be less harsh than those of the present sys­tem.

It was ex­plained that a driver whose li­cence has been re­voked, fol­low­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of more than 12 traf­fic points in the space of a year, will be able to ob­tain a new driv­ing li­cence two months af­ter the re­vo­ca­tion date with­out the need to take a new driv­ing test.

A driver whose li­cence is re­voked for a sec­ond time within a three-year pe­riod can get a new li­cence af­ter two months but will have to re­take the driv­ing test.

If a li­cence is re­voked for a third time within five years, the driver may only have his li­cence granted upon the sub­mis­sion of ap­pli­ca­tion one year af­ter the re­vo­ca­tion date, un­less a mag­is­trate awards a shorter time­frame.

A driver whose li­cence has been re­voked for a fourth time within a seven-year pe­riod can only sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion for a new li­cence if au­tho­rised by a court, and only af­ter two years from the re­vo­ca­tion date.

It is also be­ing pro­posed that it should be made pos­si­ble for a driver in pos­ses­sion of a full driv­ing li­cence to have penalty points re­duced by half if he/she at­tends a course on road safety aware­ness ap­proved by Trans­port Malta.

Dr Bon­nici said that the fine for driv­ing with­out a li­cence and or us­ing false num­ber plates will be in­crease and the court will be able to sus­pend the li­cence of the per­son in­volved with­out a re­quest be­ing made by the prose­cu­tion. If the per­son does not have a li­cence, then he/she per­son will be re­quired to ap­pear in court be­fore ap­ply­ing, the Min­is­ter said.

Ac­cord­ing to the White Pa­per, the penalty for driv­ing with­out a li­cence will in­crease from €232 to a max­i­mum of €1,200 and the pos­si­ble three months’ im­pris­on­ment will also be ex­tended to one year.

He an­nounced that an in­crease in the pun­ish­ment for driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs will be im­ple­mented. In ad­di­tion, the courts will be able to or­der pro­ba­tion and a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme in such cases.

A new sys­tem of per­mis­si­ble al­co­hol lim­its will also be adopted, more in line with the usual Euro­pean ap­proach.

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