By YVONNE HAIP
MOTOR vehicle operators in Western Highlands are being booked by police for driving with expired licences although they have paid renewal fees.
They have yet to receive their renewed driving licence due to delays at the traffic registry office in Mt Hagen.
Some drivers have been waiting for their new licence since mid-last year.
Many have been proactive and gone to the office to inquire, only to be told that the processing machine is still out of order.
PMV driver Thomas Bob said drivers had to show their expired driving licence and receipt for renewal at police roadblocks.
“That is accepted in the province, but for PMV operators who travel out of the province, they are fined and had even been subject to police beatings.
“The police did not permit them to travel and transport passengers along the Highlands Highway without the renewed driving licence,” he said.
Mr Bob said this was unfair because it was not their fault that the machine was out of order.
“It’s the responsibility of the provincial government and Traffic Registry to install a new machine,” he said.
He said many drivers were becoming victims outside the province, especially at police roadblocks.
Mr Bob called on the provincial traffic registry office to step up its efforts to address the renewal problem.
He also called for the police and relevant authorities to look into the matter and at the same time alert police in other centres about the situation.
Attempts to contact the traffic office were unsuccessful but metropolitan police Supt Peter Roari said drivers without a valid driving licence were not supposed to be driving.
“If they are caught, they will be charged,” he said.