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Opinion

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

We must change the law, if habits don’t

RECENTLY we heard from a study carried out by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) which found that the majority of Malaysian drivers use their mobile phones, contributing to road accidents.

According to Miros chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, the majority of Malaysians agreed that the use of mobile phones while driving could pose a danger to themselves and other road users but they were still doing it. According to the study which was conducted last year of 300 random responders in the Klang Valley, Miros found that 43.4% of road users were regularly using mobile phones while driving cars or riding motorcycles. The study also found 53.6% of drivers used mobile phones when they are caught in traffic congestion; 53% of drivers send text messages while driving at least one to three times a week; and 61.7% of drivers receive or make phone calls while driving at least one to three times a week.

We must not forget the Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department’s alarming statistics released last year that 46,000 police summonses 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.

The matter cannot be treated lightly as it is putting many innocent lives in danger on the road. Though the innocent party or driver can be charged with reckless or dangerous driving under the Road Traffic Act 1987 [Act 333], imposing a small compound of around RM300 can be seen as a contributing factor to this rising problem.

We need to amend and strengthen the law in order to make sure our drivers are serious about taking good care of their own lives while on the road as well as other people’s lives.

We could either repeal the compound alternative or increase the current amount of compound from RM300 to RM3,000. Though some bad habits might be hard for some people to change, we can help by enhancing our punishment. Once we have a tougher law, bad habits will quickly change.

DR MUZAFFAR SYAH MALLOW

Senior lecturer

Faculty of Syariah & Law,

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia