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Buckle up or get a ticket!

HeadlineBuckle up or get a ticket!

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 11, 2024

With this issue of Amandala, motorists – if they weren’t aware – are being informed that they will get a traffic ticket from traffic officers for not wearing a seat belt while driving a vehicle at all times, within and without our towns and cities. This also applies to any other persons inside the vehicle.

Many Belizean drivers seem to be unaware of the new law which came into effect on March 1 of this year. The new law doesn’t only cover the wearing of seat belts, but also the use of electronic devices while driving (which many, if not all drivers are guilty of doing), and the authorization of speed measuring devices by traffic officials.

The authorities hope these new regulations – requiring the wearing of seat belts; ensuring drivers have full attention to the road without the distraction of using their cell phones; and their being able to enforce speed limits by removing the restriction to a specific brand and model of speed measuring device that is no longer in production – will significantly reduce fatalities and injuries in accidents.

“It is a good thing, I must say. Many of times we see people committing these infractions, [even] myself do it at times, so I have to make the adjustment as well,” said Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams.

As the ComPol Williams admitted, at times he has failed to comply with the new regulations, but he recovered by saying that he doesn’t let his phone become a distraction for him on the road.

“I have my vehicle … when I connect the phone to the vehicle, there is an application on my phone that allows the phone to read the text. So that is good; and I also use the application where I can speak to the phone on the phone, write the text messages, and then just say send it. So, there is that hands-free capability with the phone once connected to the vehicle, but it still is a distraction at times. So again, it’s just a matter for us to make that adjustment and make sure that we comply with the regulations,” added the ComPol.

Amandala notes that penalties reach up to $50 for those not wearing a seatbelt; and for those caught using their cellphones fines can be up to $500 or six months behind bars.

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