Punish Traffic Offenders Severely as They Endanger Innocent Lives, Says Lam Thye

Traffic are often congested along Jalan Tun Razak and a contra-flow is said to alleviate the congestion during peak hours. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

Law enforcement officials have to come down hard on traffic offenders because they endanger innocent lives in addition to their own, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance for a Safe Community chairman said offenders’ actions put other road users at risk and this happens too frequently on Malaysia’s roads and highways.

“While law enforcers can use their discretion (when dealing with) those who put their own lives in danger, they have to be doubly strict with those who put other lives in jeopardy,” he said when contacted on Friday (July 14).

“Traffic rules are not only about protecting lives.

“When offenders go unpunished it creates a culture of non-compliance, leading to more violations and a higher probability of accidents.

“Other drivers may feel justified in breaking the rules if they see others doing so with impunity,” he added.

Lee also commended new Kuala Lumpur police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain and his team for their recent “Respect Traffic Laws” operation.

“Since the campaign was launched on July 3, a total of 26,506 summonses were issued in just six days.

“It’s more than 4,000 offences per day. And the number of people endangered by their actions per day would be a multiple of that,” he said.

Among the offences were driving on pedestrian pathways, driving without a licence, running the red light, stopping in the yellow box, obstructing traffic, and indiscriminate parking.

Traffic offenders could also cause congestion on the roads, Lee said.

“For example, drivers who park illegally or block traffic disrupt the smooth movement of vehicles, leading to jams.

“This inconvenience also causes frustration and increases the likelihood of aggressive or dangerous driving,” he said.

Lee said accidents resulting from the actions of traffic offenders impose significant economic costs such as medical expenses, property damage and legal proceedings.

“They also lead to lost of productivity and additional expenses for transportation companies.

“In the recent law enforcement exercise, 800 officers and men were involved,” he said.

Lee suggested that the number of police personnel involved in the operation could have been reduced if the city had more CCTV cameras.

“In Kuala Lumpur, there are over 1,000 CCTV cameras in public areas but only 300 are directly linked to the police.

“The rest are monitored by Kuala Lumpur City Hall,” he said.

For some perspective, it is interesting to note that China has installed 36 million CCTV cameras throughout the country and other territories under its jurisdiction, he added.

“Perhaps we should have more cameras at strategic junctions linked to the police to reduce reliance on human resources which could be better utilised elsewhere,” he said.