Besides the battle for supremacy between the coalitions, one of the most anticipated outcomes from the ongoing Dewan Rakyat session is the fate of drunk driving.
According to Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, drunk drivers will be looking at longer mandatory jail time and higher fines if proposed amendments are given the green light in parliament.
Among the proposed amendments include increasing prison sentences for those causing death or injury due to drink driving, from 10 to 15 years and increasing fines up to RM100,000.
Currently, the maximum sentence for those found to have exceeded the permissible alcohol limit and causing death or injury under Section 44, is 10 years.
If the amendment goes through, the 10-year jail sentence will be increased to 15 years for first time offenders and 20 years for a subsequent conviction.
The amendment will also see an increase in the current maximum fine of RM20,000 up to RM100,000, and that is not all.
While those convicted can get their driving licence suspended for 20 years instead of the current 10 years suspension, the proposed amendments also seeks to impose mandatory jail time under Section 45A for those convicted while driving above the permissible alcohol levels.
Dr Wee also said that amendments will also see the lowering of permissible alcohol levels detected in drivers through breathalyser, urine and blood tests in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
The current levels adopted by the country stands at 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.
This will be lowered to 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 67 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.
Dr Wee said the stiffer penalties under the proposed amendments will also cover those driving under the influence of drugs and reckless driving.
Beside the police, it is said that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would also be carrying out enforcements to curb this issue in the near future.
As harsh as it may sound, we feel that this is a necessary measure that needs to be taken as soon as possible to prevent drivers from being irresponsible, as it is people’s lives that are on the line. If you fancy a few drinks, use a ride-sharing app or designate a driver who doesn't drink.
So, before our roads become a chaotic warzone, it is best that these amendments come into play and instil some good behaviour among our drinkers.
As mentioned by Dr.Wee, “We are not against drinking, but only the act of drinking and driving”.
Be safe and just Grab your way home. It is not worth the risk.