According to reports, the government is considering enforcing a mandatory jail term for reckless drivers who cause deaths in road accidents, if it’s deemed that such a move can help reduce road accidents and fatality rates.

“If the jail term can reduce the percentage of fatalities on the road, then we have no choice. Educating and appealing alone does not seem to work,” Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters two days ago, in response to Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye’s proposal that the government impose such a move.

Lee had earlier issued the call for the mandatory jail sentence to be carried out after the 25th Ops Sikap saw a 63% increase in traffic summonses being issued compared to the previous operation.

Hishammuddin said that enforcement agencies and the government have tried their best to educate the public through awareness programmes and direct appeals, but the public’s attitude hadn’t changed, with the fatality rate increasing.

Meanwhile, in related news, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said that there was no need to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 to carry out such a move, as the mandatory jail sentence for dangerous driving to the extent of causing death is already provided under the act, Bernama reports.

Kong said the existing provisions under the RTA for serious driving offences had a mandatory jail sentence provided, besides a fine. “The offences cover reckless driving that causes death, reckless and dangerous driving, unsafe and inconsiderate driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” he said.

He added that Section 41 of the act states that causing death by driving recklessly or dangerously carries a jail term of not less than two years and not more than 10 years, a fine of not less than RM5,000 and not more than RM10,000, in addition to offender’s driving licence suspended for not less than three years. Under Section 42, the offence of reckless and dangerous driving, but not causing death, carries a jail term of up to five years and a fine of between RM5,000 and RM15,000, the report adds.