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Traffic offences 101

The Centre for Justice has released a new booklet detailing traffic offences, procedures and penalties on the Island.

The Centre's managing director Venous Memari said the leaflet, titled “The Guide to Traffic Offences and Procedures”, is aimed at assisting anyone who finds themselves stopped by police or summoned to court for a motoring offence on Bermuda's roads.

“Our role is to help people to understand Bermuda's laws, and consequently their rights under those laws,” she said.

“If you are stopped by the police on the road for the first time, the experience can be confusing and stressful. This is especially true with traffic proceedings, where people are less likely to use the services of a lawyer than they are with criminal offences.”

Ms Memari said the 16-page booklet was created as a result of feedback from the Centre's previous leaflet, titled “What Do I Do If I Am Arrested”.

The new leaflet covers the entire process of traffic offences from the initial traffic stop to the court process, and explains the responsibilities concerning parking, seat belts, using mobile devices and maintaining vehicles.

It also included an appendix listing a number of the most common traffic offences in Bermuda and the potential penalties on conviction.

Among the facts included in the booklet are:

— If stopped for a speeding offence, a driver may ask to view the radar gun, but due to the nature of the device the speed will not be displayed once further vehicles drive past.

— Police have the right to ask drivers for their driver's licence, certificate of insurance and certificate of vehicle registration from TCD. If the driver does not have them, they will be asked to bring them to a police station within 24 hours.

— If police suspect a motorist is driving on alcohol or drugs, they can ask for a number of tests to be carried out, including a roadside breathalyser test. If they suspect a driver is unfit due to drugs or if the driver refuses a breath test, they may demand a sample of blood or urine.

— Members of the public can launch an official complaint against the police through forms available at any police station, which should then be submitted to an officer of the rank of Inspector or higher, but “frivolous” or “vexatious” requests can garner fines of up to $3,000 or three-months in prison.

— If someone is disqualified from driving for more than one year, they may return to court after 12 months to ask that the remainder of your disqualification be shortened or lifted entirely.

The leaflets are available for download at Centre for Justice's website www.justice.bm.

Hard copies are obtainable at the Centre for Justice office in The Armoury Building on Reid Street, World Distributors Ltd, the Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman's Office, the Legal Aid Office, the Bermuda Public Services Union and Magistrates' Court.

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Published October 17, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm)

Traffic offences 101

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