Clampers demise final with new traffic law
(CNS): The clamping of cars will become officially illegal everywhere in the Cayman Islands next Friday, although the police will be able to tow cars away if they are illegally parked. Under the new traffic law, which comes into effect on 21 September, the dreaded wheel clamp will be outlawed but illegal parkers could still face hefty fines if their vehicles are illegally parked and removed. The fine for illegal parking is $100, and in the event the car is towed, there is a towing fee of $40 and a $10 daily pound fee for which the owner is responsible. From now on, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is the only agency that has the authority to have a vehicle towed. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)
“This means that if a company wants a car towed, they will need to call the police, who will come to the complainant. The police will then assess the situation and take the appropriate action,” said Director of Driver and Vehicle Licensing David Dixon. “As long as the public has access to a parking lot, then they must follow the law, otherwise they are committing an offence and if they are parked illegally or in an unsafe manner, the police will have the authority to ticket or tow the vehicle."
Dixon added, “The police will be looking out for four things – abandoned vehicles parking in an unlawful or unsafe manner such as parking on yellow line, parking in a no parking area, or in handicapped space, or if a vehicle was involved in accident.”
Meanwhile, school zones have also been properly gazetted under the new law, which means that motorists should comply with the 15 mph speed limit when the lights are flashing or road markings or signs are posted. Non-compliance with the signals now draws a $200 fine.
Another change in the traffic law is that under section 117, utility workers now have some protection under the law when carrying out road works. The law states: “A person who, on approaching road works referred to in subsection, (2), does not obey all directional signals and signs, whether verbal, manual or automated, given to him by –(a) a person authorized to man such place; or (b) equipment placed at such road works, has committed an offence.”
"The police were getting a lot of complaints that drivers were unnecessarily putting utility workers at risk by deliberately disobeying their directions. The police have the ability to prosecute the public if they endanger these workers when they are carrying out road work," Dixon added.
While lots of the law remains the same, there are significant changes to some sections, including the re-categorisation of vehicles to include electric cars and the regrouping of vehicles to distinguish between sedan, SUVs, Hummers and different trucks weights.
The law addresses two types of electric vehicles: regular – those that can exceed 30 mph --and Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSV) or Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) whose top speed is registered at 30 mph.
NEVs are to be used only in speed zones of 30 mph or less. An “electrically powered vehicle” is capable of travelling in excess of 30 mph and is registered and licensed as an ordinary vehicle that has a combustible engine. This means that, finally, there is no differentiation between an ordinary vehicle and an electrically powered vehicle.
“Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSV), or Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) will only be to operate in 25 mph zones throughout Little Cayman and on the Old West Bay Road, where the speed limit is expected to be reduced to 30 mph.
All vehicles fees have also been increased and some vehicles have been re-categorised and grouped to allow for a fairer fee structure based on weight. B“A bigger car with a bigger seating capacity has more impact on the roads. So we adjusted the fees accordingly,” Dixon said.
The licensing fee for regular sedans or cars not exceeding 2,500 cc or four seats has increased from $160 to $180 for 12 months. SUVs or vehicles exceeding 2,500 cc and not exceeding eight seats excluding the driver are now $200 per annum. Hummers have been classed into two categories -- there is a grouping for H1 Hummers, as distinct from all other types. H1 Hummers are $1,000 and all other types are now $500 for one year's licensing.
The other significant change in the grouping is private trucks exceeding 4,000 lbs but not exceeding 8,500 lbs gross weight. These trucks annual licensing fee will now be $400 a year.
Group 5 was removed from the driver’s licence group relating to motor scooters, as these were best suited for the Group 1 class of driver’s license. Another significant change to the Law addresses Group 1A motor cycle licence.
“Regulation 8 of the Traffic Regulation now requires persons to produce to the examiner proof that they held a full Group 1 licence for a motor cycle of an engine capacity not exceeding 125 cc for a period not exceeding one year prior to their application. They must also successfully complete a basic rider-safety course approved by the Director. This is a change from the previous law, which required a person to have a Group 1 licence for a period of two years before qualifying to upgrade to a Group 1A,” Dixon explained.
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