Mandatory jail sentence for refusing alcohol tests under new bill

The transport ministry is proposing stiffer punishments for motorists found driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

KUALA LUMPUR: Uncooperative drivers who refuse to undergo alcohol content tests without valid reasons will face a mandatory jail sentence and fine under amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said first-time offenders will face a maximum two years’ sentence and be fined between RM10,000 and RM30,000 while losing their driver’s licence for a minimum of two years.

Repeat offenders will face a maximum five years’ sentence and be fined between RM20,000 and RM50,000 while losing their driver’s licence for a minimum of five years.

He said this was a form of deterrence and to ensure that drivers suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol were made to take breathalyser, blood or urine tests.

The amendment to the act will also see the alcohol limits for these tests significantly reduced according to standards followed by the World Health Organization.

The limit for breathalyser tests will be reduced from 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath to 22 micrograms, while the blood test limit will be decreased from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams.

The urine test alcohol limit will also be lowered from 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine to 67 milligrams.

“We have proven to Malaysians that we are committed to addressing this, whether it’s DUI under alcohol or drugs or driving recklessly. These are all our targets.

“We also serious about incidents where ‘basikal lajak’ (modified bicycle racers) were involved in accidents. We want our roads to be safe,” he said at a press conference in Parliament today.

Wee said the parents or caretakers of minors involved in “basikal lajak” will have to bear the punishment for the offences, which will also be increased under amendments to the act.

They could be fined between RM1,000 and RM5,000 or sentenced to jail for not more than one year or both under Section 54(2)(a).

“Our desire isn’t to punish people. The enforcement of the law is one part but another thing is educating the public,” he said.