Commissioner of Transport Addresses San Pedro High. - by Angel Nuņez, J.P.

On Friday, November 15, San Pedro High was the venue for a very interesting presentation by the Commissioner of Transport, Mr. Leroy Panting. In a one and a half hour presentation, which involved a lecture and a question and answer session, Commissioner Panting addressed several important issues and satisfied the inquiring minds of a very attentive and participatory audience. The following are some of the main issues addressed.
1. Road accidents are on a rapid increase in Belize. In the U.S.A. it is one per every 500 vehicles. In Belize it is one per every 50 vehicles.
2. A large percent of the fatal accidents involve persons in the 35 age range.
3. Many fatal accidents are the result of drunken driving.
4. Very soon traffic officers and the police will be using radar guns to catch speeding drivers.
5. Very soon officers will use an electronic gadget that determines your alcohol content of consumption by a breath test.
6. There is a 250 dollar fine for driving without a valid licence.
7. There is a 500 dollar fine for driving under the influence of alcohol. (0.8 on the alcometer or breath test apparatus)
8. A second offence is a direct 1 year of jail plus fines.
9. San Pedro will be under tight and unannounced checks especially on weekends.

10. In the case of underage drivers, students will be arrested and but parents will be fined or taken to court.
11. Police officers are not above the law. They must respect all the traffic laws even while in uniform.
12. A policeman who is drinking cannot perform duties nor make arrests in relation to driving offences.
13. Citizens should immediately report policemen or traffic officers who drink and drive and violate the laws. (Commissioner's tel. number is 08-21004.)
14. The official age which qualifies one for a driver's licence is 18. Only under special conditions will the commissioner make exception and issue a licence at 17. As of 16 years of age one may get a learner's permit but that does not qualify anyone to drive alone and the large "L" must be displayed.
15. If a person gets a licence at age 16 in a foreign country, that person may use that licence in Belize for 3 months only. He or she must wait until 18 to qualify.
16. A car may only take 5 persons it as registered.
17. A space of 15 inches of seating space must be allowed per passenger. Thus a golf cart may only take 2 passengers if there is 30 inches, or 3 if there is 45 inches. No one should sit on the front end nor stand at the back of a golf cart.
18. Special notice was given by the Commissioner to San Pedro drivers who love to drive with a baby or child in their arms. They will be arrested. Also it is illegal to be driving and having one arm around boyfriend or girlfriend or "sweetheart". They too will be arrested.

The Commissioner's address was very well received and there were a lot of questions from the students. He too was very happy with the response of the students.

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