Malaysiakini Letter

Need to be clear on ‘hit-and-run’

CY Ming  |  Published:  |  Modified:

It was reported that a car driver had fled the scene after a fatal accident at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur on May 24, which killed a motorcyclist and pillion rider.

The report implied that the driver should not have fled. But is it a law that drivers must wait for the police to arrive?

If so, drivers involved in accidents with injuries risk being assaulted by an angry mob, even though the driver may not be at fault.

How the accident occurred is seldom witnessed by bystanders and passers-by, but the sight of the injured writhing in pain is enough to incense one of them to start assaulting the driver and would soon be joined by others.

Those responsible for assaulting the driver may be charged with murder should the driver be killed. If so, it would result in unnecessary deaths and miseries for many families.

Drivers should try to send the injured to a nearest clinic or hospital if the wounded can be moved, regardless of whose fault, especially on deserted roads, but should exercise caution in crowded areas.

For those who did not stop, it would be wise to report the accident at the nearest police station, as any delay may give the impression of hit-and-run.

For collisions that do not involve injuries, drivers are allowed to make the report at traffic police stations within 24 hours, bringing along the necessary documents instead of making return trips.

As such, drivers should not chase after vehicles that did not stop after colliding into theirs. Just take down the registration number and note the make, model and colour of the vehicle, apart from the time and location of accident to make a police report.

Forcing the other vehicle to stop can turn out to be a dangerous or deadly exercise for one or both parties, and possibly many others on the road.

The term ‘hit-and-run’ should be used judiciously. For example, we should leave our contact details on the windscreen of the car we accidentally damaged at a car park. Not doing so would constitute hit-and-run.

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