By Y S CHAN
The “Kesalahan Jalan Raya” (Kejara) Demerit Points System was introduced in 1997 and the Automated Enforcement System (AES) in 2011. Both failed miserably but are set for relaunch in March.
Their success this time will depend on the changes made as dishing out more of the same will produce the same dismal results.
Since 2011, I have written about the AES and this article is on the Kejara.
The demerit points for 18 offences range from five to 15. Drivers with 15 demerit points will have their licences suspended for up to six months. It will be increased to no longer than 12 months for subsequent 15 demerit points, and licences revoked with more suspensions.
The penalty for operating a vehicle during the suspension period is RM1,000 fine or a six (6) month-prison sentence. It should be changed to a fine or jail, or both. Many drivers are prepared to take the risk if the penalty is just an affordable fine, rendering Kejara toothless.
The first five offences are each slapped with 15 demerit points. They are: “Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs”; “Reckless driving”; “Inconsiderate driving”; “Street racing”; and “Failure to provide breath, blood or urine sample when requested by a police officer, without a justifiable reason”.
The first offence can only be proven in a blood test, street racing is obvious especially by
motorcyclists, and the last offence is clear. But how are motorists caught for reckless or inconsiderate driving?
Must they be involved in a nasty accident first? As AES cameras are only at a few fixed locations, those driving recklessly or inconsiderately are unlikely to be stopped, let alone caught. But there is a simple and inexpensive way to ensure motorists behave on the road.
Dashboard mounted cameras or Dashcam can capture many offences and citizens who wish to participate in such an exercise can pre-register with the authorities. This is to prevent vigilantism or frame-up.
Without pre-qualification, the authorities will be spending too much time determining the authenticity of evidence submitted as thousands of traffic offences are committed every hour throughout the country.
With the use of Dashcam, offences such as “Failure to adhere to the traffic lights” (No. 6); “Offences related to overtaking and obstructing an overtaking vehicle” (No. 8); “Failure to yield to an ambulance, fire engine or a police vehicle” (No. 9); “Offences related to driving on the left lane” (No. 11); “Operating a motor vehicle on a cordoned off roadway” (No. 14); and “Overtaking at a double line” (No. 17) will be greatly reduced.
As for “Driving over the speed limit” (No. 7), it is beyond the capability of normal Dashcams
as sophisticated speed cameras are required to register whether the speed was 1km/h, 26 km/h or 40 km/h above the permissible limit.
The other offences are “Offences committed at a pedestrians’ crossing” (No. 10); “Failure to top at a junction” (No. 12); “Careless driving” (No. 13); “Ignoring traffic signals and reminders” (No. 15); “Using tyres with worn treads” (No. 16); and “Failure to adhere to terms stated on ‘P’ License (Rule 15A) Motor Vehicle Rules (driver’s license) 1992” (No.18).
Again, the last two offences are spelled out clearly. As for careless driving, it is penalised
with 8 demerit points, whereas reckless and inconsiderate driving are slapped with the maximum 15. Does that mean drivers involved in minor accidents and summoned also pick up 8 demerit points?
As for the remaining offences, I am stumped and so will large number of motorists.
The Road Transport Department (RTD) need to be clear on offences committed at a pedestrian crossing.
Everyone is clear at crossings with pedestrian lights. But what about certain slip roads where zebra crossings are hardly visible and pedestrians normally wait for vehicles to pass before crossing?
Stopping at the junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail from the SMART tunnel before turning left into Jalan Imbi is sure to cause a rear end collision. Similarly, failure to stop at a junction that
carries 8 demerit points needs to be clarified.
Universally, traffic laws require vehicles to come to a dead stop at a T-junction but it is not
the practice in Malaysia. When no other traffic can be seen on the road, drivers will just roll
past the junction.
Lastly, RTD need to elaborate on ignoring traffic signals and reminders. Does that mean ignoring the signal and hazard lights of vehicles? What about the misuse of hazard lights during rain? Are reminders and highway codes the same?
The AES was a good system but failed because there was no public buy-in. With the relaunching of the AES together with Kejara in two months’ time, there had been some announcements, but no engagement to secure a buy-in from the motoring public.
Overnight implementation will not work, especially for something massive, as millions of summonses and demerit points will be issued through AES and Kejara.