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6:36pm 11/08/2022
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Get tough with Mat Rempits and dangerous driving
By:Sin Chew Daily

If we are as careful as the Norwegians, we should have only 654 road accident fatalities each year, not 7,358!

Ministry of transport secretary-general Isham Ishak said on Tuesday that his ministry would amend the Road Transport Act 1987 to toughen the penalty on road racers, spectators, parents of teenage offenders as well as businesses helping the road racers modify their motorcycles.

An important point in the amendment is the increase of the amount of fine from the lowest RM300 at present to between RM5,000 and RM10,000.

Isham Ishak said the parliament adopted the Road Transport Act 1987 Section 44 (driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs) amendment bill on August 26, and anyone causing the death of other people while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs could be jailed ten to 15 years and fined RM50,000 to RM100,000, with no shorter than ten-year suspension of driving licence. The amended law is expected to have enhanced effects in curbing drunk driving.

And because of that, a comparable increase in penalty can also be implemented to control illegal road racing activities.

If the new law is passed, not only will the illegal racers be punished, others such as the spectators, parents of teenage racers and businesses helping them modify their motorcycles will all be implicated.

In addition to heavier fines, we propose that illegal racers causing the death of other people during their road racing activities should also be jailed for their irresponsible act.

We believe that illegal road racing activities which have been around for decades should be drastically reduced and even eradicated if harsher penalties are meted out to the offenders.

Malaysia has among the highest road fatality rates in the world. According to traffic police statistics, a total of 10,188 motorcyclists were killed on the road during the three years from 2019 to 2021, at an average of 10.4 motorcycle fatalities for every 100,000 people per year.

During the first eight months last year, some 2,954 motorcyclists were killed on the road, at an average of 12.3 per day. Motorcyclists and passengers made up 70.2% of all road fatalities during the period, the second highest in the world after Thailand’s 74%.

Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) was apparently shocked by the statistics because it had previously projected that motorcycle fatalities as a percentage of all road accident fatalities would only reach 70% by 2025!

The high motorcycle fatality rate should not be wholly blamed on the Mat Rempits, as dangerous driving by Malaysian road users could also be a contributing factor.

Malaysians aside, some foreign motorists are also speeding on Malaysian highways to indulge in the satisfaction of speed which they can’t get back home.

According to Zutobi’s statistics, Malaysia scored only 5.63 out of 10 in safe driving index for 2022, with 22.5 road fatalities for every 100,000 people (average 7,358 road deaths a year), second highest after Thailand.

Norway is the safest country for driving, scoring 8.20 points out of 10, with only two people killed on the road for every 100,000 people, while Japan tops the road safety chart in Asia (fourth worldwide) with 7.88 points (4.1 deaths for every 100,000).

If we are as careful as the Norwegians, we should have only 654 road accident fatalities each year, not 7,358!

European countries have very low road fatality rates because of the people’s attitude on the road, difficulty in getting a driving licence and more road-worthy and safe vehicles.

In the UK, road fatality rate is merely 2.9 per 100,000 people, Denmark 3.4, Germany 3.7, Finland and the Netherlands 3.8.

In short, to ensure the safety of road users, we must lift the driving test threshold, enact stricter laws to penalize dangerous road users, instill safe driving attitude among the people, lower tariff to make safe and good cars more affordable, and regularly maintain our roads and highways.

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