Cop-shop

The police have said that raising the quantum of traffic fines might well deter drivers from breaking the law, thus reducing the rate of fatal accidents, but the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) says an increase in fines by itself is not likely to reduce accidents unless accompanied by stricter enforcement and more road safety campaigns, The Star reports.

According to MIROS chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, 140,000 traffic summonses have been issued by police since Ops Selamat 8 began on February 1, which showed that the public were cavalier about traffic compounds.

“Malaysia may have good traffic laws but the enforcement is poor and needs to be strengthened. The disrespect for traffic rules and road safety is deep-seated and some road users in the country tend to accept the behaviour as ‘normal’ simply because everybody else is doing it,” he said via a statement.

He said that the idea of harsher deterrents should be contemplated. ““Besides maintaining the RM300 on-the-spot fines for traffic offenders, we should also consider the proposed community work such as collecting rubbish and sweeping the roadside as a form of punishment for the offenders,” Lee said.

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Lee stressed on increasing the level of road safety education to change the public’s mentality. While lauding the efforts of weaving these topics into language lessons, he said more should be done, especially for teenagers and young adults.

“Children, starting from pre-school level, need to be educated on road safety practices and the serious implications of reckless driving, and disobeying traffic rules and regulations. This will instil road safety awareness in the children and help them to be responsible and considerate road users when they grow up,” he said.

He added that such education should be given greater emphasis during secondary and tertiary education. “I believe that the road safety education should not stop at secondary three level. It should continue in college and university as school-leavers, diploma holders and university graduates should always be reminded of good road safety practices,” Lee stated.