46,000 summonses issued last year for using handphones while driving

nancy-samanbasBALAKONG: Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Nancy Shukri wants stiffer penalties for motorists using handphones while driving after statistics showed that more than 46,000 summonses on the traffic offence were issued by police last year.

She said the penalties for using handphones while driving should be the same as those imposed on drunk drivers.

Currently the maximum fine for using a handphone while driving is a RM300 fine while the penalty for drink driving is a fine of up to RM2,000, and imprisonment.

“This is a serious offence. People’s lives could be lost in a moment’s distraction,” she said after visiting the Rapid Bus Complex here today.

She was asked if heavier penalities, the same imposed for drink driving, should be meted out to those found using a handphone while driving.

“This matter needs to be relooked. People need to know it could end in tragedy if their eyes are not on the road,” Nancy said.

There have been dozens of accidents caused by drivers on handphones with police saying the problem had gotten worse over the years, especially with the advent of messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Police have also said many motorists and motorcyclists were constantly using their phones while on the road, especially during traffic jams.

Nancy urged the various authorities to review the penalties which she added would serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.