Current penalties for reckless driving are too light, reckons transport minister Anthony Loke, who wants to introduce lifetime driving bans for offenders who cause fatalities through their actions, the Malay Mail reports.

“Section 41(1) of the act (Road Transport Act 1987) penalises reckless vehicle drivers who cause death with imprisonment of no less than two and not more than 10 years, and a fine of no less than RM5,000 and not more than RM20,000,” he said, adding that Section 41(3) would see the offender stripped of his/her license for three years for the first offence, and for 10 years if it occurs a second time.

“However I personally feel this particular penalty is too light. Lives lost cannot be replaced, and those who cause deaths through reckless driving should have their licenses permanently revoked and banned from driving ever again,” he said.

However, before that can happen, the act must be amended first, which requires a feasibility study. “As well as this, we need to get input from other parties outside the ministry, including NGOs or road safety bodies. So for the time being, this is pretty much in its infant stages, and requires further development before we will consider bringing the amendment to parliament for tabling,” Loke said.

On Saturday, a trailer lost control near the Menora Tunnel on the North South Highway, resulting in the deaths of five people. Permits for all 28 vehicles belonging to the Gurun-based lorry company have now been suspended for two weeks for the transport ministry to audit the firm. The outcome of the audit could lead to the company having its license revoked, according to The Star.

“I am taking this strict action to send a message to all companies and vehicle operators. You must be responsible towards road safety whenever you are on the road. We cannot take safety for granted. Enough is enough. When drivers cause deaths on the roads, companies must be held liable as well,” the minister said.