LTA: No more ‘carrot’, takes up ‘stick’

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The horrific accident involving a bus and a car at Lomolomo in Lautoka which claimed the life of the car driver. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The recent spate of road-related accidents has left the Land Transport Authority (LTA) with no option but to come down hard on offenders, especially as the Christmas and New Year season draws closer.

Acting CEO Irimaia Rokosawa said they faced several challenges, including but not limited to: lacking manpower and machinery, clashing duties and lax public behaviour.

In an interview with The Fiji Times online platform The Lens @177, Mr Rokosawa said they would move away from offering the “carrot” and instead, take up the “stick”.

He also talked about reintroducing the demerit points system for offenders as a deterrent measure, as well as introducing two levels of provisional licensing, proper training for movement up classes, and mandatory defensive driving tests.

LTA will also relook at the current fines for speeding, which Mr Rokosawa said served as an occupational hazard rather than a deterrent measure.

“Right now, we have a reactive measure on show cause, concentrating on bad driving behaviours, on speeding, dangerous driving, careless driving, inconsiderate driving, and improper use of mobile devices,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that all these reforms would be pointless unless driver behaviour was addressed.

In some cases, Mr Rokosawa said vehicle owners would simply pay the fine, even if they weren’t behind the wheel.

“We are trying to emphasise and plead with Fijians who are holders of a driver’s licence and vehicle owners, there are provisions in the law for you to transfer the Traffic Infringement Notice (TINs) from you as the vehicle owner, to the driver on that particular (offence), especially on red light speed cameras.

“We ask vehicle owners or permit holders, exercise the ambit of the law, transfer your TINS to the driver on that offence so that we address bad driving behaviours, and we are also asking Fijians to report incidents.”

He said when there was evidence of careless or inconsiderate driving, the LTA could address these issue through TINs and show cause, which could eventually end in suspension and/or cancellation of driver licences.