Malaysiakini Letter

We can’t change the habit, but we can change the law

Muzaffar Syah Mallow  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | A recent study carried out by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has found that the majority of Malaysian drivers use their mobile phones while driving, contributing to road accidents.

According to Miros chairperson Lee Lam Thye, a majority of Malaysians agreed that the use of mobile phones while driving could pose dangers to themselves and other road users, but are still doing it.

Their study, which was conducted last year and carried out on 300 random responders in the Klang Valley, found that 43.4 percent of road users were regularly using mobile phones while driving cars or riding motorcycles.

The study also found 53.6 percent of drivers use their mobile phones when they are caught in traffic congestion, 53 percent of drivers send text messages while driving at least one to three times a week, and 61.7 percent of drivers receive or make phone calls while driving at least one to three times a week.

Last year, the Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department released an alarming statistic involving 46,000 police summons which were issued to motorists for using their mobile phones while driving in 2016, as compared to 42,641 which was issued in 2015, an increase of almost 4,000 summons.

This matter cannot be treated lightly as it can endanger innocent lives on the road.

Though the innocent party or driver can be charged for reckless or dangerous driving under the Road Traffic Act 1987 (Act 333), the issuance of a small compound amount of RM300 can be seen as contributing factor to such rising problem.

As such, our law needs to be amended and strengthened in order to ensure our drivers are taking the matter seriously enough while they are driving on the road. 

We could either get rid or exclude the compound alternative entirely for such offence or even drastically increase the current amount of compound from RM300 to RM3,000.

Though some bad habits might be difficult to be changed for some people, at the very least we can change our law to be tougher.

Once we have tougher laws, bad habits will change and our lives on the road can be safer.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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