PUTRAJAYA: Habitual traffic offenders are the main cause of accidents in the country.
The Road Transport Department (JPJ) estimates that at any one time, there may be over 1.4 million habitual traffic offenders on the road. There are currently 12 million people with driving licences.
JPJ director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said the involvement of these offenders in accidents was evident from frequent findings that showed those involved in major accidents had been booked multiple times.
“There are no figures available on the exact number of habitual offenders, such as those committing more than three offences within two months, as this is an unresearched area.
“However, we expect the number to be well above the figures – of between 9% and 12% – in developed countries like France and Britain,” he told The Star here yesterday.
He said there was a need for concern as there was a growing number of Malaysians misbehaving on roads and committing offences that directly contributed to accidents, even fatalities.
“Speeding tops the list of offences by habitual offenders. Other offences are queue jumping, overtaking on the double line, beating traffic lights, speaking on mobile phones while driving and the illegal use of emergency lanes,” he said.
The department was serious about reducing the average of 18 accident-related deaths on roads each day and controlling the attitude and behaviour of road users like taxi and bus drivers, and other transport operators, Solah added.
“The way to achieve this is by ensuring that poor and dangerous driving habits do not spread,” he said, adding that bad driving habits frequently stemmed from bad behaviour, which, if left unchecked, could develop into a negative culture.
He said all it took for such negative culture to take hold was the acceptance of bad driving as a “norm”.
“It is an easy trap to fall into. Bad practices on the road can spread easily. When a motorist is seen taking to the emergency lanes, others will find it hard not to follow suit when caught in traffic jams,” he pointed out.
Recently, the Government had announced that motorists fined more than thrice within two months would be labelled “habitual offenders” and forced to pay double the fines under a new traffic summons system.
Solah said the doubling of fines for habitual offenders under the new system for summonses issued from March 1 and the decision not to offer any discount for serious offences would ensure that they felt the sting.
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