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New traffic laws coming for distracted drivers

Posted: Tuesday, November 7, 2017. 3:54 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Transport, in response to the continued loss of life and damage to property resulting from road traffic accidents, is working to have laws passed specifically addressing the use of cellular phones while driving.

Registration and Licensing Officer with the ministry, Vallan Hyde, explained that Cabinet has “recently” given the approval for the Ministry of Transport to work with the Attorney General’s ministry in drafting legislation with penalties for motorists who are using their phones while driving.

“Cell phone use is one of the biggest causes of distracted driving. Whether it’s talking on the phone or using messenger or those other apps. You even see videos showing bus drivers who are on their phone while driving. So that’s something that the ministry is looking at seriously,” Hyde said.

Data produced by the Ministry of Health showed that 63 people died from road traffic accidents at the end of September 2017. The MOH data also showed that 92 people died in 2016 from road traffic accidents. The ministry attributed 33 of the total 2016 RTA deaths (36 percent) to driver negligence.

Road traffic accidents claimed the lives of some 28 pedestrians last year, 11 of which were killed by hit-and-run drivers. Since 2013 the Government of Belize, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been engaging in a Road Safety Project, which valued at over $15 million.

The project includes infrastructure and safety upgrades to roads as well as public education and awareness campaigns geared towards disseminating information about good road safety practices.

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