Amendments to Road Transport Bill passed, stiffer penalties for reckless, drink driving

KUALA LUMPUR: The Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in the Dewan Rakyat with a simple voice vote to increase penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and reckless driving. The passing of the Act means that stiffer punishments await those who cause death due to recklessness or driving under the influence. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the amendments to the Bill were done in a comprehensive manner to tackle the problem.

Dr Wee said the government is not only using legislation to address the issue but also the three "E"-elements, which are education, engineering of road conditions and enforcement. "We cannot only use one of the elements or neglect all of them. When there is awareness and enforcement is done, then people will be more afraid to get behind the wheels after drinking," he said in his ministerial replies on the Bill on Wednesday (Aug 26).

Dr Wee emphasised that the law is not meant to restrict people from their right to consume alcohol. "It doesn't matter to me if you want to drink all you want and even swim in a pool of alcohol but it becomes my concern when you drive after doing so," he added. Dr Wee also denied that the increase in penalties was aimed at boosting government revenues, adding that the punishments were meant as a deterrent against recklessness or driving under the influence.

He said that the discussions are being held with e-hailing companies to display stickers on their vehicles to encourage those under the influence of alcohol to use their services instead of driving on their own. Among the amendments to the Bill include those charged with causing death due to dangerous or reckless driving can face up to 10 years imprisonment and be fined up to RM50,000 if convicted. The Bill proposed that those charged under Section 41 for dangerous or reckless driving causing death could face between five and 10 years in jail as well as a fine of not less than RM20,000 and not more than RM50,000.

In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, a person can face imprisonment of between 10 years and 15 years, and not more than RM100,000 fine, should the Bill be passed. They will also have their licence disqualified for five years if convicted. Currently, Section 41 of the Act states that those guilty of the offence face between two and 10 years of prison and a fine between RM5,000 and RM20,000.

Meanwhile, the Bill also proposed that those who are charged with dangerous or reckless driving can also have their licenses disqualified for a period of five years from the current two years.

Apart from that, it also proposes that those charged under Section 43 for careless and inconsiderate driving can also face a fine of between RM5,000 and RM10,000, as well as be liable for a jail term of not more than 12 months for the first offence.

Second or subsequent convictions will see an individual fined between RM10,000 and RM15,000, and jailed for not more than 12 months.

You may also like...