LETTER | On June 2, 2017, a van driven by a teacher of a religious school skidded and fell into a ravine and crashed into a house at Km 55 Jalan Kuala Krai-Kota Bharu near Kampung Telekung.
There were 12 students and two teachers on board. Seven students were killed while the others were seriously injured.
Among the injured was 18-year old Muhammad Faiz Hafizuddin Mohd Izahir who suffered head injuries and permanent paralysis from a fractured spinal cord.
He will require disposable diapers, food tubes, urine bags, beds, mattresses and private nursing care for life.
On September 23 this year, the Kota Baru Sessions Court ordered the van owner, a company owned by the religious school, the founder of the school and the van driver to pay RM4.3 million to Muhammad Faiz.
On October 3, a notice of appeal to cancel or reduce the amount of compensation was filed with the Sessions Court.
All this would have been averted if safety and road regulations had been complied with but Malaysians are notorious for throwing them out of the window.
With 14 people on board, the van could have reached or exceeded the maximum load. Without adequate tyre pressure and tread, the vehicle could have easily veered out of control when turning at high speed.
What more when the van involved in the accident was driven by a teacher without a driver’s licence and the van was uninsured.
But even if the van was insured, the motor insurance policy for private vehicles does not cover the driver for passenger liability.
Should an accident occur because of the driver’s fault, injured passengers can only seek compensation from the driver and vehicle owner as it is not covered by private vehicle motor insurance policy
Sadly, there are millions of motorists and motorcyclists in the country driving and riding without driving licences, road tax and motor insurance.
The law requires all motor vehicles to be insured for third-party injuries, but those injured by uninsured vehicles or unlicensed drivers and riders are unlikely to receive compensation as most of them do not have the means to pay.
Those with valid licences and insurance should ensure they adhere to the terms and conditions of their motor insurance policy as there is no insurance cover if the vehicle is driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Drunk driving is common in this country, as can be seen by many patrons leaving a bar or after a “yam seng” dinner and driving home. Killing someone while driving could ruin the career of a bright executive too dumb to realise his folly.
Similarly, it could wipe out a small fortune amassed by someone successful and approaching retirement. The founder of the religious school, a Datuk, being ordered to pay RM4.3 million is one example.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.