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2,800 drivers were slapped with penalty points last month

Most were overspeeding

The points system has prompted mixed reactions.

The points system has prompted mixed reactions.

An average of 90 drivers a day were slapped with penalty points for traffic contraventions in the first month of the new system’s operation, the majority for speeding.

But no one, so far, has lost enough points to have to hand over their licence.

On December 1, the penalty points system was extended to all drivers, from just new ones, in a bid to increase road safety, following a “lengthy consultative and legislative period”.

Throughout the month, 2,836 drivers were penalised a total of 8,508 points, the operations director for the Local Enforcement System Agency (Lesa), Elizabeth Vassallo, said. Out of those 2,836 drivers, 131 were probationary drivers.

 

READ: Understanding the driving penalty points system

With just over 250,000 driving licence holders, this amounts to about one in 100 having been penalised under the new system so far.

In all there are 29 contraventions for which penalty points can be imposed. Drivers could lose their licence for two months if they accumulate 12 penalty points over 12 months.

Transport sources said that so far, no one has lost their licence, but three people accumulated at least 12 penalty points as they have multiple rental cars to their name.

Penalty points can be contested in normal manner

Ms Vassallo said that the most common breach was speeding.

She said penalty points can be contested “in exactly the same manner through which normal contraventions are challenged – that is either through a petition or in front of a Local Tribunal and, if an appeal on that decision is filed, by the Court of Magistrates.

“Points are deducted upon payment of the contravention or upon a definitive judgment by the respective judicial or reviewing body.”

The extension of the points system to all drivers – it used to be applied to new drivers only – has brought mixed reactions. Several welcomed it but the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises has called for fine-tuning to be applied to commercial operations. While the chamber welcomed the extended system, CEO Abigail Mamo said that it was unfair that those running a higher risk were not being afforded a higher number of points.

The chamber called for a distinction between commuting drivers and those whose livelihood depended on driving.

But the Malta Road Safety Council’s executive manager Pierre Vella insisted that commercial drivers should be road safety ambassadors and not be given more room to break their driving obligations.

Ms Vassallo yesterday noted that Lesa was keeping the consultation going with the chamber and other stakeholders “to keep the bureaucratic processes at a minimum”.

Car rental operators also welcomed the system as it fostered higher responsibility on the road, however they said it increased bureaucratic burdens.

For all the contraventions bar one, the driver has to be stopped and given a ticket, meaning the points would be deducted from the driver’s own allocation.

However, when it comes to speeding, contraventions are issued to the registered owner, and usually the rental or delivery vehicles of a company are registered in a single individual’s name.

Lesa had told this newspaper that it launched a website for all car owners – including companies – to set up an e-services account through which they can register their vehicles and delegate them to drivers.

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