RTD officers, personnel risk lives to stop overloaded lorriesAHMAD ISMADI ISMAIL
KUANTAN - Road Transport Department (RTD) enforcement officers and personnel have risked their lives by going undercover to stop overloaded lorries in an operation codenamed Ops Mammoth, here, on Thursday.
They wore plain clothing and used vehicles without the department’s logo during the operation.
Sinar Harian had the opportunity to follow the special and confidential operation and was informed that it would be conducted earlier by the department to detect lorries carrying 71 per cent excessive loads.
A total of 30 members and officers from the enforcement division were involved in the operation which was carried out for 10 hours from 6.30am.
All members and officers who drove “project cars” were stationed at designated checkpoints to track down targets.
The team began to act simultaneously after spotting a commercial vehicle carrying various minerals exceeding the limit at 9am.
The “project car” would follow the heavy vehicle before overtaking it to stop it.
The team waved a red flag with the RTD logo to ask the driver to pull over.
Within two minutes, one of the enforcement officers who had shown an authority card would climb on top of the overloaded lorry.
As soon as they managed to sneak into the truck, the driver was then instructed to turn off all telecommunication devices to avoid the operation from being leaked to the driver's "tontos".
The driver was then instructed to head to the weighing station at Jalan Gebeng for further action.
RTD enforcement division assistant director (operations) Mohd Alifarihan Abdullah said his team faced some challenges to stop the heavy vehicles that were found to have committed an offence.
“The enforcement team had to risk their lives to stop the lorries, but they are trained and have the skills to stop the heavy vehicles,” he said.
Mohd Alifarihan said he had always advised the enforcement officers to consider the situation and avoid risks to other road users when arresting the drivers of the lorries.
"We also need to use the strategy of vehicles without logos in the operation to avoid being detected by agents who would inform that the RTD was following their movements," he said.
Commenting further, Mohd Alifarihan said RTD members and enforcement officers also faced risks when carrying out their duties to detect and detain heavy vehicles that were found to have committed an offence.
"We use equipments such as flags with the RTD logo to instruct the lorry driver to stop the vehicle," he said.
He explained that all actions of the enforcement personnel must follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) that have been set.
"We will then escort the heavy vehicle to the weighing location for further action," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Alifarihan said in the operation, a total of 32 RTD members and enforcement officers were divided into nine teams including three main teams.
"The teams have been placed at three check points (inspection points) around two quarries and at a road junction between roads headed towards Kemaman and Kuantan Port to monitor the movement of the targets (overloaded lorries).
He added that the operation was conducted following public complaints, surveys and intelligence that were previously carried out.
"We also detected lorry drivers who committed repeated offences, one of whom had 12 records of various offences since last year," he said.
He said action was taken under Section 57 and Section 80 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010 and the heavy vehicles were confiscated.