My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Road Traffic Act to be Amended to Ban Vehicular Cellphones and Tablet usage – HD CCTV Enforcement necessary as Legislation needs Teeth

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Road Traffic Act to be Amended to Ban Vehicular Cellphones and Tablet usage – HD CCTV Enforcement necessary as Legislation needs Teeth

“The general context is that the use of cell phones while driving is a major international problem especially driving and texting because driving and texting is shown to be just as dangerous as driving and drinking”

Vice-Chairman and Convener of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Dr Lucien Jones, commenting on the coming amendments to the Road Traffic Act

The Ministry of Transport and Works and the NRSC (National Road Safety Council) is gung-ho about coming amendments to the Road Traffic Act that will ban the use of electronic communication devices while driving as stated in the article “Government to ban use of cell phones while driving”, Published Saturday June 21, 2014 by Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This was originally promised in July 2013 by Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Morais Guy, but it wasn’t implemented in that year.

In plain English, you'll be unable to use your:

1.      Cellphones
2.      Phablets
3.      Tablets

The amendment to the Road Traffic Act applies to Section 125 (1) will read as thus:

Subject to subsection (3), a person shall not drive or operate a Motor Vehicle on a road while using an electronic device whether by holding in one hand or both hands or with any other part of the body or otherwise unless the electronic device is:

a)      Attached to the Motor Vehicle, or a fixture in the Vehicle and remains affixed while being used;
b)      Specially adapted or designed to be affixed to the person of the driver as a hands-free device

Road Traffic Act Amendment – Apple CarPlay possibly legal as it’s talking to Siri Voice Assistant

This is all well and good and responsible motorists in Jamaica should have no problem with this. Even Hands-free should be banned, as the human mind can’t process multiple things simultaneously, especially driving.

The act of driving requires both eyes and hands to be on the steering wheel. Driving engages the following senses:

1.      Hearing
2.      Vision
3.      Touch

Taste and Smell, which are really the same sense but different organs, only become engages within the Vehicle or in the case the window is rolled down. Otherwise your brain is processing data from the above three (3). Thus any form of distraction inside of the Vehicle will impair your judgment of the Road conditions, hence the impending Ban.

This as Apple CarPlay uses Voice Commands based on Siri Voice Assistant and thus could be legal, since only your mouth in moving and you don’t have to avert your gaze from the road just to tell your Apple iPhone to play a song.

Automated Traffic Ticketing System – Enforcement necessary as Legislation needs Teeth

Hopefully too, enforcement will be in the form of HD (High Definition) CCTV Cameras installed at Road Traffic Lights, enableing them with the capability to detect cell phone usage. This would reduce incidences of Jamaican Police taking Bribes from motorists and instead resort to directly ticketing of Motorists either via deductions from their Bank Accounts or when they next have to renew their Insurance, Fitness or Driver’s License.

They should be able to take a picture of your license plate in order to introduce an Automated Traffic Ticketing System as described in my blog article entitled “GOJ to upgrade NWA's CCTV Traffic Monitoring Network to give Police more eyes in Private Places - The Da Vinci Code for Automated Traffic Ticketing System and 1984”.

Additionally, the Points system would be used by the Jamaican Police using Blackberrys or smartphones in conjunction with a Blackberry Law Enforcement Database to check Motor Vehicle documentation and license plates as stated in “Traffic cops turn to smartphones”, published Friday, June 21, 2013 by Balford Henry, The Jamaica Observer.

By then Body Cameras should also be standard issue among Jamaican Police. Body Cameras will act as both protection for Police Personnel as well as a Third unbiased Eye for Video, Audio and Still image evidence of the events that transpired as explained in my blog article entitled “Min. of National Security Peter Bunting plans to have Jamaican Police wear Body Cameras - INDECOM ‘s eyes and Ears will make Video, Audio and Still Pictures Admissible in Court”.

Ultimately, an Automated Traffic Ticketing System is where this is all headed.  All that is now needed is source the money within the Budget to pay a Contractor to set up an Automated Traffic Ticketing System as described in my blog article entitled “NRSC to reach 300 Road Traffic Fatalities in 2011AD –  Contractor Mad Money for Automatic Traffic Ticketing System”.

Road Traffic Act Amendment is a good step. But Enforcement is necessary as Legislation needs Teeth to make motorists change their driving habits!

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