With traffic having increased significantly over the past week into phase three of the movement control order (MCO) period, the police has announced that it has formed a ‘jam squad’ to monitor traffic congestion at roadblocks in the Klang Valley, Bernama reports.

This will allow the police to monitor and respond quickly to disperse traffic at congested roadblocks, according to Bukit Aman traffic investigation and enforcement department (JSPT) director Datuk Azisman Alias.

The squad will be made up of 20 motorcycle personnel who will monitor the traffic congestion at all roadblocks. “At the same time, drones will also be used to monitor the congested locations and open up special lanes for essential services vehicles such as health workers,” he said.

He said that authorities had identified the locations in four states that experience congestion where traffic is backed up by more than one km. These comprise 16 places in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Melaka and Johor.

Azisman said the traffic congestion – especially in the Klang Valley – was caused by a small number of people who are not in the essential service category who are out during peak hours, specifically between 7am and 1pm, and from 4pm and 9pm.

“The excuses given include going out to buy essential items. So, we want to advise people who are not part of the essential services to go out during the non-peak periods to do their shopping, so as to allow those in the essential services to operate without going through the congestion. At the same time, I advise commercial vehicles such as lorries to change their delivery hours to non-peak periods such as at night, so as to avoid congestion,” he said.

He added that the congestion was also caused by the increase in the number of vehicles in the additional sectors announced by the government recently, making up 70% of the volume of vehicles inspected at roadblocks, with occupants possessing relevant National Security Council (NSC) approval letters.

Last week, the volume of traffic consistently increased to the 550,000 vehicle mark, and these were only with vehicles that were accounted for at roadblock inspections. The high was reached on Friday (April 17), when 585,250 vehicles were checked at 816 roadblocks across the country. The volume dropped on Saturday (April 18) to 451,487 vehicles, recorded from 820 roadblocks.

Although the number of new Covid-19 infections has dropped over the course of the last week, we’re not quite out of the woods yet – the advice remains, stay at home unless it’s for food and essentials, and if you do need to head out, stay within a 10 km radius (above that only for those seeking medical treatment or buying medicine) and remember to follow the one-person-per-car rule.