The government is set to start the second phase of Automated Enforcement System (AES) traffic monitoring, but before that can happen, it will resolve the small matter of 1.65 million pending court cases involving RM494 million in unpaid traffic summonses from the pilot stage, The Sun reports.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said his ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) are formulating the best mechanism to resolve the outstanding cases, which were temporarily suspended on Dec 18, 2012 at the direction of the AGC for “technical” reasons.

“In view of the concerns made by certain quarters on the law and other technicalities, the AGC has decided to look into this matter and directed that all proceedings are to be withheld until the concerns have been addressed. A decision will be made within the next few days on the above-mentioned issues,” the AGC said then, adding however that AES summonses were still valid.

The ambiguity meant that although the 14 AES cameras continued to capture red light running and speeding offences, it was dismissed by many as a “toothless tiger” due to the above-mentioned AGC freeze. Of the 1.91 million AES summonses issued from September 2012 to April 30 this year, only 264,750 compounds amounting to RM76,647,750 have been paid.

PJ Traffic Jam

“The AGC is analysing all the clauses to fine tune and solve this outstanding matter before the government implements the second phase. The AGC wants to ensure that all legal matters are in place,” Aziz added.

In the meantime, the rollout of the second phase of AES is on track, with locations proposed for the 350 cameras being finalised. The emphasis will be on capturing traffic light violations.

Based on 2013 stats, there were 205 accidents at traffic light intersections and pedestrian crossings which resulted in 76 deaths and 129 injuries. Based on the latest Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) studies, AES cameras at traffic light junctions have reduced the light jumping rate by at four locations in KL and Perak. Full story here.

“Now that the AES operation is fully under a government-linked company and no longer operated by the private firms, we want to beef up the enforcement because (the number of) road crashes and fatalities continue to rise. Red light running and speeding had contributed to 30% of fatal accidents in the past. The government wants to reduce the number of fatalities and deter the people from going against the rules,” the minister explained.

“We have to take control. We want to make the roads safer for all road users. Effective enforcement is one way to reduce lost of lives on the road and the authorities are serious about reducing fatalities in line with the government’s Road Safety Plan towards 2020,” he added.