Updated at 6pm with Transport Ministry's statement

The extension of the point system to penalise reckless drivers has stalled, this newspaper has learnt, with no implementation date set a year after the measure was announced by the government.

According to industry sources, the government planned to have the system up and running by July of this year but the implementation was pushed back because of the election.

The sources added it seemed unlikely the new rules would be enacted by the end of 2017.

But the government insisted this afternoon that the new system would be implemented on December 1 as planned.

At present, new drivers are subject to a three-year probationary period, and if a driver exceeds the 12-point mark after breaking a series of rules, their licence is withdrawn. Once the probationary period expires, the system no longer applies.

The demerit system for new drivers was introduced in 2004.

Every system needs to be perfected over time, but it can only be perfected if it is implemented. We owe it to those people who have lost their lives on our roads

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici announced the extension of the system in October of last year during the launch of a consultation document on traffic legislation reform.

This was part of efforts by the government to curb reckless driving and reduce the number of road accidents, with plans to slash drink-driving limits by almost half.

Earlier this year, this newspaper reported that Transport Minister Ian Borg would be forging ahead with plans to lower the drinking limits.

Insurance Association head Adrian Galea, who was among the first to call for the implementation of a point system, told this newspaper it seemed that despite both the public and the law courts highlighting the need for stricter enforcement, it was not happening.

“While this country seems to content itself with issuing consultation papers, lives continue to be lost, fatalities and injuries continue to wreak havoc on families, costs for both the insurance industry and the Maltese health system continue to increase and motorists continue to face mayhem on a daily basis,” Mr Galea told this newspaper.

While other countries forged ahead and implemented solutions, the association head continued, it seemed that despite the country’s size, which should serve as an advantage when coming up with solutions, they took longer in Malta.

“Every system needs to be perfected over time, but it can only be perfected if it is implemented. We owe it to those people who have lost their lives on our roads,” Mr Galea said.

Questions sent to the Transport Ministry about when the changes to the penalty point system would be implemented had not been answered by the time of writing. The ministry referred the Times of Malta to the Justice Ministry.

Reform will be implemented on December 1 as planned - Transport Ministry

But in a statement this afternoon, the Transport Ministry said the reform will be implemented on December 1 as planned.

It said that excellent work had taken place between the two ministries in the past months for the implementation of the reform and the respective authorities were prepared both from the legislative and administrative sides.

This reform, the ministry said, would be taking place following a wide consultation process with the public and stakeholders and following a legislative process in Parliament.

The government, the ministry said, was committed to increase road safety in the best interest of the people.


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