In August last year, amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 to increase penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and drugs as well as for reckless driving was read, tabled and passed by the Dewan Rakyat, and came into force in October.
The amendments to Sections 41 to 45 of the Act introduced heavier penalties for serious driving-related offences. For example, those convicted of causing death due DUI (under Section 44) now face a jail sentence from 10 to 15 years and a fine of between RM50,000 to RM100,000 for the first offence as well as being disqualified from holding a driving licence for at least 10 years. It’s a substantial increase from the previous three to 10 years jail sentence and RM8,000 to RM20,000 fine.
A year on, the transport ministry is looking at whether these measures have been effective at reducing instances of DUI, The Star reports. According to transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, the ministry has commissioned the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) to find out if the harsher penalties have helped reduce such occurrences.
“The transport ministry has requested MIROS to conduct a study on the effectiveness on all intervention measures carried out by the ministry and all stakeholders to address the issue of driving under influence, as the (amended) laws have been enforced for almost one year now,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat earlier this week.
He added that the study would also include recommendations for intervention measures to tackle the DUI issue in the future. At present, Wee said the ministry will continue to work closely with the police and home ministry to strengthen enforcement and conduct advocacy campaigns. The ministry had in June last year conducted a survey on introducing stricter DUI enforcement before the laws were amended.
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