PETALING JAYA: Two road safety experts have urged the government to put a halt to offering discounts for traffic summonses, saying it is counterintuitive and will only make drivers disregard traffic laws.
Law Teik Hua of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s road safety research centre said the “culture” of offering discounts for summonses diluted the impact of law enforcement.
“No one is going to respect the law if they know that, at the end of the day, the government will give a discount,” he told FMT.
Law said the government viewed summonses as a way to earn revenue rather than penalties for those who break traffic laws. However, he said, summonses were supposed to be hard on offenders to deter them from breaking the law.
He said the demerit system currently in place should also be enforced more widely to discourage traffic offences.
He added that the “pain” of having one’s driver’s licence suspended or even revoked would serve as a good deterrent against committing traffic offences.
Tengku Ahmad Marwan Tengku Mahmud, a road safety affiliate with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), pointed out that developed countries did not offer discounts on traffic summonses.
Tengku Ahmad agreed with Law that the demerit system needed to be enforced more strongly, saying its enforcement was lacking. This ultimately came down to the authorities’ willpower.
“In the UK, people obey traffic rules because they know that even though they may be able to pay the summons, they will not be able to run away from the demerit points.
“So, even rich people over there are not willing to commit traffic violations because they know once enough points are taken off for the violations, their licence will be revoked or cancelled by the authorities,” he said.
Last week, the road transport department (JPJ) said a total of 146,261 demerit points were imposed on motorists from January 2022 to April 5. A total of 412 drivers were suspended for the first time, 75 were suspended for a second time, while seven were given their third suspensions.
On April 18, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced a one-month special discount for traffic summonses issued by the police with a flat rate of RM50 for offences that took place anytime before 2023.
The police and JPJ regularly offer discounts on traffic summonses, often towards the end of the year. In March, the police offered a 60% discount on all traffic summonses from March 20 to 31, in conjunction with Police Day.
JPJ also offered 80% discounts on summonses for two weeks in December 2021.