Stiffer drink driving laws in the pipeline

Drink driving has become a menace on the roads. – The Star photo.

By Chew Lip Song

OFFENDERS caught driving under the influence of alcohol face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to RM150,000 under a new law to be tabled by the Transport Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong the amendments to Sections 41 and 45 of the Road Transport Act has been agreed in principle by the Cabinet on June 21 and is expected to be tabled during the current Parliament sitting.

“Among the proposals for drink driving and causing death is a maximum jail sentence, from 15 years’ imprisonment for first offences and 20 years for following offences.

“The rates for fines are also proposed at RM20,000 to RM100,000 for first offences and RM150,000 for following offences.

“Meanwhile, an increase in duration of licence suspension is recommended, from 10 to 20 years,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today, FMT reported.

Section 45A will also be amended offenders who drive, attempts to drive, or is in charge of a motor vehicle while the alcohol level in the person’s breath, blood, or urine exceeds the prescribed levels face mandatory jail sentences. The current punishment is up to a year in jail and a RM1,000 to RM6,000 fine for the first offence.

Wee said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had gone through the draft of the amendments, which would be presented to the Cabinet on July 17 before being debated in the Dewan Rakyat.

“You can drink as much as you want, but when drinking alcohol, don’t drive a vehicle. If you want to drive, then don’t drink alcoholic drinks. This is our approach,” he said.

He said other issues had also arisen such as the attitude of some e-hailing drivers who refuse to transport passengers who have been drinking.

“I’ve been made to understand that Grab drivers don’t really like to fetch customers who are under the influence of alcohol. They are worried that they might throw up in their car. But don’t worry, we will explain this.

“The same goes for those who drive under the influence but stop at the roadside when they see police roadblocks. We will also act against those. Fleeing from alcohol tests is also considered an offence,” he said.

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