Is hit and run a crime?

hit-and-runBy CY Ming

A motorist was brutally beaten up by several men after he crashed into a motorcycle and four cars at Km18.5 of the New Pantai Expressway at 2am on Feb 14 near Kampung Datuk Harun.

Three men were caught on camera punching and kicking the 24-year-old car driver in a one minute-long video which has gone viral on social media.

The driver, who was on his way home after a night shift, sustained serious injuries and fell unconscious, and was rushed to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre for treatment.


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Posted by Koleksi Viral on Tuesday, 28 February 2017

It would be wise for motorists not to stop after an accident if pedestrians or motorcyclists are injured when there are people around. Bystanders can easily turn into an unruly mob and assault drivers involved in accidents, regardless of whose fault it was.

They do not take into account that they themselves did not witness the collision. All they do know is that seeing the injured writhing in pain is enough to make their blood boil.

The most dangerous are those who react to “facts” they cannot verify. In their anger, they lose all control, resulting in many drivers and snatch thieves being beaten to a pulp. Some have died from the beatings, and the assailants charged for manslaughter.

When accidents occur on a deserted road, motorists should stop and send the injured to the nearest clinic or hospital.

If an unmanned vehicle is damaged, the driver should have the courtesy to leave details of his vehicle so that the other party can opt for private settlement, or make an own damage or third party claim.

The media should be careful when describing hit and run accidents. It is not compulsory to stop after an accident as reports can be lodged at the police station within 24 hours of the accident occurring.

If the public is made to understand that they must stop in the event of an accident, it could result in drivers getting beaten up by unruly individuals.

On the other hand, it will infuriate other drivers to chase after those who do not stop. Apart from such high-speed chases being dangerous, forcing the “runaway” vehicle to stop can have dire consequences, as the driver may emerge with a baseball bat to defend himself, and anything can happen when both enraged parties meet face to face.

We should always remember that the driver at fault is not obliged to pay compensation. The aggrieved party can always make an own damage claim without losing the no-claim discount if the vehicle is covered under comprehensive insurance. If not, they can make a third party claim for repairs to the vehicle and for injuries, if any.

If there are no fatalities, accident vehicles should be driven or moved to a safer spot so they do not obstruct traffic, although congestion will still occur as passing motorists slow down to gawk at the accident.

If injured victims are already dead, it is essential that all vehicles involved in the accident stay put until police complete their investigation.

CY Ming is an FMT reader.

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