The National Road Safety Council of Malaysia (MKJR) has urged the government to look into introducing a mandatory jail sentence for negligent and reckless drivers who jeopardise the lives of other road users, Berita Harian reports.

Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that effective laws will restrict irresponsible driving behaviour, especially among drivers of heavy vehicles. He said that currently, Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 provides for imprisonment between two to 10 years and a fine of between RM5,000 and RM20,000 for the offence.

“If the government and agencies such as the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) do not take a firm and drastic action against this obviously visible killer, death from accidents will not end. The proposed radical move can also address the increase in road accidents due to driver negligence,” he said via a statement.

He believed that strict action was necessary to tackle the problem by instilling a sense of responsibility among drivers, especially those operating heavy vehicles. Lee said the proposed mandatory jail sentence was timely as the fate of passengers and the public now seemed to rely on the ‘compassion’ of bus and lorry drivers.

“They need to know that they can be jailed if found guilty of reckless driving and causing death of passengers or other road users,” he said.

He said regular checks should also be conducted. “Inspections should be conducted to detect drivers taking drugs and alcohol, which can endanger the lives of other road users. Previously, there were a lot of random checks made at bus terminals, and roadblocks were often held at night to detect drivers taking drugs or drunk,” he said.

Those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing death or injury to others can be charged under Section 44 (1) of the same act, which carries a jail term of three to 10 years and a fine of RM8,000 to RM20,000.