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75 drivers lose licence under points system

They lost their licence for two months

The points system in Malta makes no distinction between drivers making use of private cars and those whose livelihood depends on driving. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

The points system in Malta makes no distinction between drivers making use of private cars and those whose livelihood depends on driving. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Seventy-five drivers have lost their licence after accumulating 12 penalty points since the new system aimed at curbing reckless driving came into force last December.

Drivers who accumulate 12 penalty points over a period of one year lose their licence for two months.

If the licence is revoked twice in the span of three years, the motorist must sit for a fresh driving test before being allowed back behind the wheel.

If a licence is revoked three times in the span of five years, the driver can only sit for the test after a year of not driving, increasing to a suspension of two years for those whose licence is revoked four times in seven years.

Careless drivers should not be on our roads unless they are prepared to drive in full respect of the rules that apply

Read: Understanding the driving penalty points system

According to information supplied to The Sunday Times of Malta by the Local Enforcement System Agency (LESA), which is tasked with administering the points system, the majority of drivers are penalised for speeding offences. Such a contravention, which is one of 29 for which penalty points can be imposed, can cost drivers between three and six points.

Penalty points are imposed by the Court of Magistrates or by Commissioners for Justice, and if fines are uncontested and paid immediately, before the case is heard by the tribunal, the minimum amount of points will be deducted.

Contacted by the newspaper for a reaction, Insurance Asso­cia­tion head Adrian Galea, who was, for years, among the first to call for the implementation of a points system, said the fact that a number of drivers had already lost their licence, 10 months after the introduction of the new system, meant that the measures implemented were producing “good results”. Drivers now faced a stronger deterrent in addition to the fines incurred, he said.

The association, however, felt that Malta still lagged behind in certain aspects when compared to other European countries. This, Mr Galea said, was especially so when one took into consideration the fact that breath­alyser tests were “not carried out frequently, regularly and on a random basis”.

“The association strongly re­commends that such tests are also carried out in the case of serious accidents producing injuries and/or fatalities. Abusive and careless drivers should not be on our roads unless they are prepared to drive carefully and in full respect of other fellow road users and the rules that apply,” Mr Galea insisted.

While acknowledging that the measures introduced in recent years were a “step in the right direction”, he believes there is still more that can be done, requiring “a concerted effort which recognises that a strong deterrent is needed”.

GRTU: Measures to avoid impact on private sector still not in place

Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU) CEO Abigail Mamo told The Sunday Times of Malta that despite the new system being in place for nearly a year, issues that impacted the private sector on a daily basis were still being ironed out.

The GRTU has long insisted that despite consultation on general road safety prior to the implementation of the points system, its recommendation to have a distinction between drivers making use of private cars and those whose livelihood depends on driving had been ignored.

“If you take those who lease cars to a number of different drivers, for instance, they face a situation where points are deducted on a daily basis, and by the time they declare that someone else was driving, points would have already been deducted because the system cannot keep up,” Ms Mamo said.

Read: Penalty point system ‘unfair’ to businesses

This issue, the CEO explained, was also causing problems when such drivers came to renewing their licence. The fact that both Transport Malta and the Local Enforcement System Agency were involved in managing meant that those in the private sector were forced to face a lot of “unnecessary bureaucracy”.

“There is no system in place to sort these things out. We had warned about these things and were always told that these cases are the exception to the rule, but for those having to deal with these issues, this is no exception but something that they must deal with on a daily basis,” Ms Mamo added.

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