End discount culture, hold employers accountable for truck safety - Road safety advocate

Road safety advocate pushes for steeper speeding fines

18 Feb 2024 08:32am
Photo illustrated by Sinar Daily - Photo by Sinar
Photo illustrated by Sinar Daily - Photo by Sinar

SHAH ALAM - A road safety advocate has urged the government to cease offering discounts on traffic summonses, deeming it counterproductive and encouraging disregard for traffic laws.

Alliance for a Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye argued that discount practices dilute the impact of law enforcement.

He viewed them as undermining legal efforts by implying there were loopholes in the penalty system.

"Offering discounts doesn't aid enforcement. If we want to enforce the law, strictness is crucial," he told Sinar Daily when contacted.

Lee also proposed increasing fines for speeding offences, considering the current RM300 penalty insufficient to deter violators.

"Fines for speeding should be raised. RM300 is trivial to many drivers. The government must significantly increase it," he stressed.

His comments stem from the recent rise in heavy vehicle accidents on highways, with the latest incident at Simpang Pulai gaining viral attention.

Fatal accident and contributing factors

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The accident involved a sugar-laden trailer colliding with six other vehicles on the North-South Highway, tragically resulting in fatalities. Authorities confirmed the trailer had two prior traffic summonses.

Lee identified several factors, primarily human error.

He cited driver distraction, such as phone usage and watching movies while driving, as well as fatigue due to long working hours, as contributing factors.

Lee called for government intervention to address road safety issues, stressing the need to crack down on heavy vehicles that flout road rules.

Lee urged the government to take decisive action against highway accidents:

  • Stricter enforcement: Increased patrols to identify speeding vehicles on the spot.
  • Employer accountability: Hold truck owners and employers responsible for driver behavior, ensuring driver discipline, adequate sleep, and adherence to speed limits.
  • Navigation app restrictions: Eliminate alerts about police checkpoints and speed cameras, which hinder enforcement efforts.

Lee also called on employers to take responsibility for their drivers' behavior, urging them to ensure that drivers adhere to road laws and prioritise safety.

PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) managing director Datuk Nik Airina Nik Jaffar recently disclosed that while heavy vehicles using the North-South Expressway make up only eight per cent of the total traffic, accidents involving them accounted for 10 per cent of the total fatalities on the PLUS Expressway last year.

PLUS records also indicated that 12 per cent of all heavy vehicles on the highway exceeded the allowable load, reaching up to 24 tonnes per axle compared to the permitted 12 tonnes.

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