Dashcams are nowadays an essential part of the vehicle these days. Image source: Wikipedia
Let’s start with an interesting video that shows a lack of enforcement:-
The above dashcam video, whilst may seem impressive demonstrates how some morons rather endanger other road users so that they can have cheap thrills on the road. Why they can’t book the racing track for a day and burn rubbers to their heart’s content?
While the country may be buzzing with the findings by the PAC on 1MDB, the Citizen Declaration and now the “admission” from the Saudi Foreign Minister (is it?). For me, it is a foregone conclusion. It is rather pointless to talk about accountability, transparency and responsibility at this point of time. After all, it is now argued that putting a signature on a formal document does not mean you know what is happening and as such you are not liable.
Didn’t I say that the whole affair is a foregone conclusion? Now the focus would be on the upcoming Sarawak Elections and one hopes that the voters would be able to see beyond the sweet promises to do this and that and look at what is best for the nation in the long run.
Anyway if you have not been busy keeping up with the local political circus, you would have heard that the Government is fine-tuning the enforcement of traffic laws in the country. Finally something worth the taxpayer’s money and time. Firstly as many of the “good things” that they have done in the past, they looked what they had in their pockets and decided to merge and RENAME them (effectiveness comes much later):-
The Automated Enforcement System (AES) will be merged with the Kejara demerit system and renamed as AWAS (Awareness Automated Safety System).
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic), who disclosed this, said this was to ensure a more holistic approach to reduce the number of road accidents.
“Whether you pay your fines or not, your marks will still be deducted if you are found to have committed a traffic offence,” he said during an interview on TV3 last night.
Hmmm, that sounded fair enough but it only addresses the punishment aspect of the traffic law and not the enforcement. Still, it is a start. If you are caught, you will be slapped with both fine and demerit points but you need to be caught in the first place. No word on increasing the number of AES cameras in this country – just 14 of them and I know for sure that most motorists well behave before they pass the AES camera and become a speed demon once they have passed it.
What about drivers who are driving dangerously, abuse the emergency lanes, changing lanes without any indicators and use vehicles are not safe to be on the road (I even saw a police car last night without any rear nights on).
Then there was more news on the traffic law fines (which did not go well with the police’s earlier plans to increase the fine):-
The Ministry of Transport is proposing to reduce the rate of traffic summons from RM300 to RM150 for certain traffic offences, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi.
He said, however, the proposal must be approved by the Cabinet and amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 must be made before implementing it.
“It is still a proposal between the ministry and the government for certain offences with a certain time period given, for instance, RM150 must be paid within six months, if they fail to do so, the amount would be increased, you delay, you pay more,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby here today.
Seriously I don’t get the rationale to go soft on traffic law offenders by giving huge discounts, cooling-off period, close off one eye and reduction of the fine for some traffic laws? Didn’t they break the law in the first place? Didn’t they cause inconvenience to others (imagine the idiots who double-parked and blocked the roads? We don’t have huge trucks to plough our way through) or those had posed serious danger to other road users (and themselves)?
One ex-IGP even went on to say this:-
Given the gloomy economic outlook with many Malaysians struggling with higher living costs and the threat of layoffs loom for many job sectors, the IGP’s threat to hit motorists where it hurts most – their wallets, seem like an inspired approach to tackle the perennial problem of traffic accidents and fatalities.
This move, as expected are not well received by the public saying that it is a burden with the current economic situation.
In a phone interview with Malaysian Digest, former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan expressed his opinion that the move is untimely.“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.”
“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.
“Because it will cause resentment from the people,” he pointed out.
Sorry to say this but the traffic fines are not taxes. It is not GST. It is imposed on people who break traffic laws. If they feel that it is going to be a burden in this current economic situation then they should abide by the traffic laws, follow the speed limit, they should use the indicators when changing lane, they should drive responsively, blah, blah. No one forces the traffic fines down their throat. The opposition morons used to say the same thing.
The problem in Malaysia has always been enforcement, enforcement and enforcement.
I have written on enforcement in the past (no point repeating them again in detail here) and you can read them here:-
- Ops Sikap: Attitude vs Enforcement
- The Price of Enforcement
- Speed Demons on Highway 2
- AES: Why We Really Need Them?
Some of the hardcore traffic offenders know that the enforcement is seriously lacking and it takes months or even years before the law comes to collect the unpaid summonses (by then, there will be a huge discount waiting for them). Some politicians will capitalise on the situation and argue that the fines/punishment are burdensome to the people and the whole strict enforcement would be on hold until further studies are made. This is the wrong way to do it.
Strict enforcement is the only way to do it.
Start off with AES cameras – so far it has been very effective and operates 24 x 7, rain or shine and it had done a good job to date (almost 2 million summonses issued). The present 14 AES cameras are simply not enough. Then the enforcement on the ground need to be revamped as well – if you break the law, you have to pay for the consequences.
In addition to AES, there is another source for enforcement – dashcams (either from law-abiding road users or from the traffic offenders themselves). Look at the videos in the beginning post again. Don’t you think there is enough video evidence to book some of the thrill-seekers who treat the public road as their own personal race track, oblivious of the danger posed to other road users?
Start looking into this angle as well as another mean to identify traffic offenders and coming hard, very hard on them.
Don’t give discounts, don’t treat these traffic fines like some mandatory tax that is burdening some poor souls out there – it will not help to reduce the number of traffic laws broken but instead will only encourage them. Besides, some of these traffic offenders are driving cars that cost more than what an average Joe earns the whole year.