Traffic Regulations for Heavy Equipment Vehicles to be Reinforced
Philipsburg – Traffic safety remains an important matter for the Ministry of Justice. In a bid to create awareness within the general public concerning traffic regulations, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson hereby addresses the operation of heavy equipment vehicles on the public roads of Sint Maarten. Vehicles such as loaders, tractors, with or without a trailer, concrete trucks, asphalt trucks, gasoline tankers, forklifts and loaded trucks are considered heavy equipment by law. Many operators do not always adhere to the requirements for their vehicles set in the Traffic Ordinance and related legislation. As such, the regulations for heavy equipment vehicles are outlined as follows.
The safety of road users and pedestrians must be taken into consideration at all times. Articles 22 and 63 of the Traffic Ordinance set a large number of requirements for vehicles with a load. A vehicle cannot be overloaded or loaded in such a way that:
- the driver does not have sufficient view of the road or is not able to properly steer the vehicle;
- there is a risk of losing the load due to for example having no cover on the load or not properly tied;
- sharp objects stick out of the vehicle which may cause injury in a collision;
- the load protrudes more than five meters behind the rear axle of the vehicle;
- it causes any other type of danger to traffic.
In the event that the load sticks out of a vehicle, the front end and rear end of the load must have a red flag attached to it of at least 40 centimeters during the day or night time. During the nighttime, a light must be attached to the load if it sticks out of the vehicle. In addition to the load, Article 23 of the Traffic Ordinance states that a vehicle is forbidden to drive on the public road if it exceeds the height, including load, of 3.50 meters and the width, including load, of 2.60 meters.
There are also restricted hours for heavy equipment to be allowed on public roads. In view of traffic safety and to stimulate the traffic flow during peak traffic hours, Article 60A of the Traffic Ordinance states that it is not allowed to be on the public road with heavy equipment on weekdays between 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM and 12:00 – 2:00 PM. After Hurricane Irma, this regulation was no longer strictly enforced due to the fact that heavy equipment vehicles were essential in rebuilding the country after the damage caused by the hurricane.
Nonetheless, Minister Richardson and the Chief of Police find it imperative that the strict enforcement of the aforementioned restricted hours to be on the public road for heavy equipment vehicles is reinstated. Therefore, the general public and companies operating heavy equipment vehicles are hereby informed that as of December 1, 2022, vehicles with heavy equipment will not be allowed on the public road on weekdays between 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM and 12:00 – 2:00 PM. All exemptions issued after Hurricane Irma can be considered revoked starting from December 1, 2022.
The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) will carry out regular traffic controls to enforce the regulations of the Traffic Ordinance and related legislation. Failure to adhere to the (reinstated) traffic regulations can lead to imposed sanctions. Based on Article 119 of the Traffic Ordinance, a maximum penalty of 30 days’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500 can be imposed for violations of the aforementioned traffic regulations. A second violation within a period of one year can be sanctioned with a maximum of 60 days’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of ANG 5.000.
Minister Richardson further encourages the general public to ensure that they comply with the additional standard regulations for vehicle owners. This includes being in possession of a valid driver’s license, valid motor vehicle insurance, updated payment of road tax, and a mandatory vehicle inspection.
Violations of the additional standard regulations are as follows. Persons found driving without a valid driver’s license are punishable with a maximum penalty of 30 days’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500. Driving without a valid motor vehicle insurance is punishable with a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 5.000. Driving without payment of road tax is punishable with a maximum fine of ANG 500. Lastly, driving without a valid vehicle inspection is punishable with a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of ANG 500.