Traffic fines to increase

Too many people ignoring traffic laws has prompted the government to hit back where it will hurt motorists: in the wallet.

‘One of the things this government intends to do in February is increase the fines for traffic offences,’ Cabinet Minister Arden McLean said at the Cabinet press briefing on Friday.

‘Whether that is well liked or not, it has to happen.’

Mr. McLean said there had been increasing incidents of people blatantly ignoring traffic laws.

‘There are a few motorists who refuse to follow the rules,’ he said. ‘This country will not become a country of anarchy because of a few individuals.’

Mr. McLean expressed his disappointment with motorists who would not abide by the new road design at the North Sound Road junction near A.L. Thompson’s Home Depot. He said the police had already issued a number of tickets to people making illegal turns onto Portland Road.

‘[That turn] is not allowed,’ he said. ‘The signs are very clear: ‘No Right Turn’.’

Northbound motorists on North Sound Road who want to turn right onto Portland Road must now go around the Butterfield Roundabout and come back to Portland Road and make a left turn.

Motorists wishing to go straight from Sound Way to Portland Road must also go around the roundabout and come back to it, but some people are still trying to go straight.

Mr. McLean said the illegal behaviours at the junctions are causing accidents and that he almost witnessed one himself.

‘I watched a gentleman try to make a u-turn and he almost killed someone trying to cross Portland Road,’ he said.

Mr. McLean said the police will remain diligent at the intersection to enforce the new road design.

Another area where illegal turns are creating danger is at the Maedac Super Centre gas station on Red Bay Road across from First Baptist Church. Motorists are making dangerous turns across a solid white line instead of using the roundabouts to the east and west.

Mr. McLean said there was a plan to extend – with four lanes – the east-west arterial highway to the Silver Oaks Roundabout near King’s Sports Centre, which would eliminate the problem.

‘We’re going to put a four-foot median down the whole street,’ he said.

‘I trust we won’t see people jumping that median because I’m going to put trees in there.’

Mr. McLean said the extension of the east-west arterial to the Silver Oaks Roundabout would necessitate the acquisition of additional land, including some of the area of the two ponds near First Baptist Church.

Although the east-west arterial would have four lanes all the way from Prospect to the Silver Oaks Roundabout, there are no plans to widen the Linford Pierson Highway to four lanes at this time. Mr. McLean said this was because Crewe Road is already there, giving a total of four lanes between the roundabout and town.