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Aug 2, 2023

Day One of Traffic Conference 2023

The Belmopan City Council in partnership with the Department of Transport is hosting the first-ever Traffic Conference at the NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan. The three-day conference will review and present updated procedures and policies for the registration of vehicles, as well as the issuance of licenses across all municipalities in Belize. These procedures are mandated by the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act and the conference will facilitate knowledge sharing among traffic managers and senior transport officers. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

We have been reporting on a number of traffic fatalities this year – almost every week, there is a new incident. Cabinet, on July eleventh, approved the development of regulations to increase seatbelt usage for all passengers in a vehicle, to enforce the non-use of devices while driving and to allow the use of speed guns to measure speeding on roadways.  It is a priority that is being addressed by the Belize Police Department, in terms of enforcement, and at the Department of Transport, for the use of the roadways.


Peter Williams, Acting Chief Transport Officer, Department of Transport

Peter Williams

“We have a lot of people who are operating motor vehicles on the road but they never did a practical test, they never did the written tests so they are not aware of what the rules of the roads are, they are not aware of the different hand signals that can be given during emergencies when operating a vehicle. And so we want to be able to standardize what these requirements are for a person to be able to obtain their driving license. We want to be able to look at the written test, the practical test so that we can ensure that once you get your driving license, you are able to control and operate that motor vehicle properly and safely when you are on any public road in Belize.”


A plethora of issues associated with traffic is being ventilated at a three-day traffic conference, a first of its kind for the country. It covers the gamut of traffic and road safety matters and involves multiple agencies, including customs, immigration, municipal traffic department, the police and the Department of Transport.  Adele Catzim-Sanchez, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Transport, says that the conference has been in the making for over a year and a half.


Adele Catzim-Sanchez

Adele Catzim-Sanchez, C.E.O., Ministry of Transport

“This is a three-day event which brings together traffic managers from municipal authorities as well as other persons who work in the Department of Transport and other authorities that also interface with us – being the customs, immigration and the Attorney General’s Ministry to look at policies and procedures for improving traffic management, traffic enforcement as well as streamlining standard operating procedures and policies related specifically to the implementation of drivers license as well as vehicle licensing and registration. There are many loopholes that exist in the licensing system and there is a need to fill gaps and to strengthen what we have as well as to ensure that we have a stronger network – not just for information sharing and data collection, but to ensure that we are properly enforcing the existing laws and regulations.”


Peter Williams

“We are also looking at improving customer service because through standardization the Belizean populous can go to any department of transport or any municipal authority and get the same type of service that is offered in any of the offices.”


The conference focuses on redesigning processes, as well as the registration of vehicles, and even getting your licenses. Within the next twelve months, it is expected that new licensing requirements and protocols will be rolled out.

Peter Williams

“With the new test, we want to look at not just the basic rules of the road; we want to try to inform drivers what are some of the basic checks that you need to do on your vehicles before you even drive the vehicle. How do you check the oil or what are the things that you need to check for? We also want to look at the driver behaviour elements; we also want to tap into the defensive driving aspect as well. So once we are finished with this traffic conference, we are estimating perhaps maybe sometime mid next year, we can standardize the new written test and we could start to have new requirements for persons applying for driving license. We are looking at making some legislative amendments as well to the regulations for driving licenses in Belize.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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