What is the new Traffic Ticketing System?
The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act chapter 48:50 has undergone some extensive changes to allow Transport Division to provide better service to the motorists in Trinidad & Tobago. This revised legislation modernises the present traffic ticketing system by:
- Decriminalising a wide range of traffic offences into traffic violations;
- Providing new platforms for the payment of traffic fines such as cashless transactions;
- Introducing new and convenient payment locations;
- Providing greater convenience and options for the payment of traffic tickets;
- Providing law enforcement officers with greater connectivity and instant access to data; and
- Reducing the backlog of pending cases before the Traffic Courts.
This system seeks to improve outdated procedures and practices for road traffic law enforcement using modern technology – a software management system called the U-Turn System.
Electronic traffic tickets (E-tickets) and mobile handheld devices
One of the major improvements in the traffic ticketing system is the use of mobile handheld devices by law enforcement officers. These devices automate the way in which traffic tickets are issued to allow greater convenience for recipients. The benefits of these devices include:
- The migration from a paper-based ticketing system to Electronic tickets (E-tickets);
- A significant reduction in the time taken (from 25 minutes to 2 minutes) to issue and record the details of the traffic violation;
- Improved accuracy of the information recorded by a law enforcement officer.
It is important to note that handwritten tickets will continue to be utilized by law enforcement officers until they are completely phased out. Both paper-based and e-tickets will be managed by the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) utilizing the U-Turn software management system. When a traffic ticket is issued, the information is transmitted instantly to the following organizations for further action:
- The Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation (TTPOST) to receive and process payments;
- The Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago should a Notice to Contest be filed by the traffic violator;
- the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for archiving and further action.
With the participation of these stakeholders, the new traffic ticketing system does not operate in isolation with just one organisation. This comprehensive plan involves the Police Service, Judiciary, TTPOST and the Ministry of Works & Transport working collectively to detect and deter traffic offenses as well as increase the level road safety and observation of law.
Why the need for a new Traffic Ticketing System?
The reason court lists are saturated with traffic cases are due to unpaid traffic tickets, which automatically become traffic matters to be settled via the court system. This high number of traffic cases continues to clog the system and therefore, results in a backlog of pending cases.
The chart below shows a snapshot of the composition of matters filed at the Magistracy during the 2018/2019 Law Term. It is clear to be seen that traffic cases comprised the majority of matters before the court over other offenses, at 60.4%.
Matters filed at the Magistracy during the 2018/2019 Law Term
Statistics, in the graph below, from the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago also show that during the period 2017- 2018 over 102,000 traffic related cases appeared before the Magistrates’ Court.
Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago: Cases filed for period 2013 – 2018
The high number of traffic matters results in a backlog of pending cases which depletes the Judicial system of time and other resources since there are:
Extensive delays due to the paper-based system;
Numerous adjournments in matters due to the non-appearance of police complainants and defendants at the court on court hearing dates; and
Inconveniences to pay traffic fines.
The good news is that the new traffic ticketing system provides an opportunity for the administrative settlement of traffic and road offences without having to go through the court system. The U-Turn system will, therefore, relieve the enormous burden placed on the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago.
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How does the new Traffic Ticketing System work?
The new traffic ticketing system provides an opportunity for the administrative settlement of traffic and road offences without having to go through the court system. Although this system takes an electronic approach, it does not totally eliminate the use of paper. Officers will be utilizing both the mobile handheld ticketing devices and the paper-based traffic ticket. There is now a newly designed traffic ticket that alleviates the current challenges experienced by law enforcement officers when writing paper-based tickets.
The following law enforcement officers are authorized by law to issue traffic tickets:
- Police Officers;
- Supplemental Police Officers;
- Licensing Officers; and
- Traffic Wardens.
After a traffic ticket is issued by a law enforcement officer, the information on the ticket is electronically submitted to the following stakeholders:
- The Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) – for monitoring;
- The Trinidad & Tobago Postal Service (TTPOST) – to process payment of the fine;
- The Judiciary of Trinidad & Tobago – should a Notice to Contest be filed by the traffic offender;
- The Licensing Authority – should the traffic offender fail to pay within the due timeframe; and
- The Trinidad & Tobago Police Service – for archiving and further action if necessary
The recipient of the traffic ticket has 30 days in which to pay. The applicable number of demerit points will be applied to his driving permit record upon payment.
It is important to note that not all offences can be dealt with by way of a traffic ticket. Depending on the seriousness of the breach and the circumstances, the law enforcement officer may serve a summons on the driver to appear before a Court.
Refer to the Ninth Schedule by clicking on the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act tab for a full list of traffic offences, the fine penalties and applicable demerit points.
What to do if you receive a traffic ticket?
If you have received a traffic ticket, you have two options:
- Pay the ticket fine due within thirty (30) days from the date of issue; or
- File a notice to contest within fifteen (15) days from the date of issue and request a court hearing.
Paying your traffic ticket
Prior to the amendment to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, traffic offenders had to pay or contest a ticket at the Magistrate’s Court, in the district where the traffic ticket was issued.
Under the new system, payments will no longer be accepted at the Magistrates’ Courts. Payments can be made at approved TTPOST locations nationwide, by cash, debit card and soon, credit card. Please refer to the table at the end of this booklet for a listing of authorised TTPOST payment locations nationwide.
The new system provides a traffic offender with thirty (30) days in which to pay their fine, unlike the previous system which only allowed fourteen (14). You will need the traffic ticket number, your driving permit number and the vehicle’s registration number to make the payment. The payment must be made in full and in one transaction. No instalments or part-payments will be accepted.
Detailed instructions on how to make a payment are also printed on the reverse side of your traffic ticket.
Failure to pay your fine.
See table below: Failure to pay a fine – for example, using a mobile phone while driving.
If the escalated fine is still unpaid, the Licensing Authority is now empowered by law to impose administrative sanctions as follows:
- Suspension of driving permit of the driver;
- Ceasing of transactions with the driver and owner of the vehicle; and
- Ceasing of transactions with the vehicle involved in the traffic violation.
Once the payment of the applicable sums is made, the administrative sanctions imposed will be immediately lifted except the demerit points recorded against your driving permit record.
Part of this new traffic ticketing system involves a demerit points system monitored by the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). TEC will ensure the appropriate number of demerit points are applied to a traffic offender’s driving permit record to track repeat offenders.
Demerit points are applied to the driving permit record upon:
- Payment of the traffic ticket;
- Non-payment of the traffic ticket within the stipulated timeframe;
- An order mandated by court.
To learn more about the demerit points system, click on the Demerit Points System tab located on the homepage.
Contesting your traffic ticket
Under the new traffic ticketing system, matters only reach the court’s list when a motorist files a notice to contest their traffic ticket. If you decide to contest a traffic ticket, you may seek the assistance of an Attorney-at-Law. You can file a notice to contest with the Court within fifteen (15) days from the date of issue via the portal on https://contest.ttlawcourts.org or by visiting a Magistrates’ Court.
Detailed instructions on how to contest a traffic ticket are printed on the reverse side of your traffic ticket.
You will need the traffic ticket number, your address, telephone contact and email address. You also may also provide your reasons for challenging the traffic ticket. Upon filing the notice to contest the traffic ticket, the matter will be initiated for a court hearing. You will be informed of the date, time and location you will be required to appear.
After filing a notice to contest, and the thirty-day period has not elapsed, if you no longer wish to contest the traffic ticket, you are still allowed to pay the fine. You can pay the fine within the prescribed thirty (30) days at any authorised TTPOST location.
If you are found guilty by the court, this can result in the maximum fine under the law. For example, the stipulated fine on a traffic ticket may be $1,000.00 whereas under law, the fine for the same traffic violation may be $6,000.00.
Approved TTPOST Locations
Authorised TTPOST Payment Outlet
Arima Corporate Shop
#17 Prince Street, Arima
Bon Accord Corporate Shop
Milford Court, Bon Accord, Tobago
Chaguanas Corporate Shop
Eleanore & Southern Main Road, Chaguanas
La Romaine Corporate Shop
#2 Lucky Street, La Romaine
National Mail Centre Corporate Shop
#240-250 Golden Grove Road, Piarco
San Juan Corporate Shop
#5 Eastern Main Road, San Juan
Scarborough Corporate Shop
#19 Dutch Fort, Scarborough, Tobago
St. Ann’s Corporate Shop
#29 St. Anns Main Road, St Ann’s
St. James Corporate Shop
#61-63 Western Main Road, St James
St. Vincent Street Corporate Shop
#22-24 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain
Tragarete Road Corporate Shop
#177 Tragarete Road, Port of Spain
Tunapuna Corporate Shop
Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna
A Guide to Understanding the New Traffic Ticket System
MVRT Act Chapter 48.50
MVRT Act No. 9 of 2017
Vehicle Testing Stations
MOWT Divisions & Units
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- Coastal Protection Unit
- Construction Division
- Drainage Division
- Environmental, Health and Safety Unit (EHSU)
- Highway Division
- Mechanical Division
- Maintenance Division
- Maritime Services Division
- Priority Bus Route Unit
- Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE)
- The Traffic Management Branch (TMB)
- Traffic Warden Division
- Transport Division
- The Unemployment Relief Programme
- Central Planning Unit
Driving Permit Applications & Renewals
- Applying for a Provisional Driving Permit
- Renewing your Driving Permit
- Applicant Categories
- Renewal of Driver's Permits for Ten (10) years.
Replacement of Lost Permit
- Issuance or Replacement Driver's Permit (Duplicate)
- Applicable fees if you’re applying for a replacement of an expired driving permit
Maxi Taxi Regulations
- Applying for a Taxi-Driver's Badge & Taxi Driver's License
- Associated fees for applying for a Taxi Driving Permit
- Renewing of a Taxi Driver's Badge & Driving Permit
- Fees for Replacement of a Taxi Badge & Taxi Driving Permit
- Replacing your Taxi Driver's Badge & Driving Permit
- Ownership of Maxi Taxi Services
- Maxi Taxi Operator's Permit
Class 4 & 5 Applications (Heavy T)
The applicant must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and the holder of a driving permit of the next lower class of motor vehicle.
Registration of Motor Vehicles
- Fees for Registration of a Motor Vehicle
- Registration of Foreign - Used vehicle
- Change of Registration of a Motor Vehicle
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Register Notification of Change of the following particulars
Transfer of Ownership
- Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle other than by Death
- Transfer of Ownership of Motor Vehicle on Death of Registered Owner
- Colour or Engine Number
- Chassis Number
- Requirements for Visitors to drive in Trinidad &Tobago
- Requirements for Dealer's License First Issue
- Renewal of Dealer's License
- Application for Replacement of a Dealer's License
- Application for Rental Operation
Notice for Drivers
For More information on the Amendments to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, please visit the Ministry’s website – www.mowt.gov.tt and click on MVRT Act Chapter 48 50 tab.
Remember, to avoid a traffic ticket and demerit points simply obey the road traffic laws. Do not act contrary to the law outlined in the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50.
The Transport Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport wishes to advise all permit holders /motorists to ensure that their vehicles are in compliance with the TARE Weight and Maximum Gross TARE Weight in keeping with the law.