The Government of Guyana has plans to impose more stringent measures to clamp down on drunk driving.

This disclosure was made on Saturday and is a direct response to the recent spate of fatal and non-fatal motor vehicle accidents that have been connected to drunk driving.

In a statement issued, the Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, said that legislative reform is just one of the measures that the government will employ to “confront this serious problem”.

Guyana Standard was informed that Cabinet, on Thursday, approved two draft bills, namely: the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2022 and Intoxicating Liquor Licensing (Amendment) Bill 2022 and resolved that the AG leads off the government’s consultations with important national stakeholder organisations and other interested parties.

These draft Bills can be accessed on the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs website www.mola.gov.gy and submissions and recommendations are invited to be submitted within 21 days to agchambersmola@gmail.com.

Additionally, these draft Bills will be circulated to relevant national stakeholder organisations for their submissions and recommendations within a similar timeframe.

Some of the proposed amendments include the provision of offences such as “motor vehicle manslaughter” and “causing grievous bodily harm” while driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

A person will be found guilty of motor manslaughter if he/she causes the death of another person while driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drink or a drug. This offence is categorised as indictable and the penalty is a term of imprisonment of not less than ten years. Where the person has caused grievous bodily harm to another person while driving under the influence of drink or a drug, the penalty is a term of imprisonment of not less than five years.

Clause 4 of the Bill seeks to amend the Principal Act by inserting a new section 38A in the Act to provide for the temporary suspension of a licence pending the determination of a charge.

Clause 5 of the Bill seeks to amend section 39 (1) of the Principal Act by increasing the penalties for the offence of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drink or a drug. Currently, the penalty is a fine ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 or imprisonment for twelve months and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction to a fine ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 and imprisonment. The proposed monetary penalties are: for a first conviction a fine not less than $200,000 and for a second or subsequent conviction, a fine not less than $300,000.

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