Pay RM50K Or Drive Safely
By: Bhavanpreet Kaur
Editor: Chan Lyn Yi
In the month of May, while the country was placed under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), there were 2 drink driving cases which caused deaths in Malaysia. On 3rd May, a police officer who was in charge of a roadblock in Kajang was killed after a drunk driver lost control of the car and crashed into him. The other case was where a drunk man rammed his pick-up truck into several people at a hawker site in Rawang on 22nd May.
Drink driving or also known as driving under the influence (DUI) has become a hot topic among Malaysians for this past few months. Almost weekly we get to see accidents and deaths linked to drink driving making headlines in the news.
Drink driving is the offence of driving a vehicle in Malaysia when the alcohol content in a person's breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit under the Road Transport Act 1987. Even though it is an offence in Malaysia to drink and drive, why do we still see a rise in the number of cases connected to driving under the influence?
LAW ON DRINK DRIVING
Previously, drunk drivers could get off the hook by just paying fines, which they could afford. But now they can’t do that now under the new law, which carries heavier fines and jail sentences. Malaysia recently passed the Road Transport Act (Amendment) 2020 which carries heavier penalties for traffic offences, particularly relating to Sections 41 to 45 on reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the Dewan Negara.
Now, anyone who drives a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, liquor or drugs to the extent of being incapable of having proper control over the vehicle or has an alcohol content exceeding the limit and causes a death can be jailed for between 10 and 15 years and fined between RM50 000 and RM100 000.
Other than that, those convicted under this section will also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years from the date of conviction.
CONCERNING THE MATTER
Statistics taken from the Malay Mail showed that for an eight-year period from 2011 to 2018, a total of 1,147 people have lost their lives to drink driving accidents in Malaysia while 539 individuals have suffered from serious injuries.
These stricter penalties were imposed to raise awareness and to restrict people from getting behind the wheels after drinking. Instead, we can use e-hailing services such as Grab, My Car and etc to make sure we get back home safely without putting our lives and also those around us lives in danger. Drinking or not drinking falls on our own beliefs but getting behind the wheels after drinking is an act of pure ignorance and being irresponsible. I am sure if we can afford to drink, we can also afford to take a cab back home right? Let’s all practise being safe rather than sorry.