Better to discourage drinkers from driving than mandatory tests

Written by TheMole

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 2020: The government prefers those who drink alcoholic beverages, even in small quantity, not to drive rather than imposing mandatory breathalyser tests at premises which serve such drinks.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong told the parliament today that the “blow before you go” policy is being practiced in countries such as Australia, but a better approach should be not to allow drinkers to drive at all.

“For us, we encourage them to use Grab (e-hailing). Those participating in this public awareness campaign, including business operators, must advise their customers or anyone accompanying them to adhere to Act 333 (of the Road Transport Act),” he said.

Wee was replying to a supplementary question by Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit), who had asked if the government would consider mandatory breath tests on patrons of premises which serve alcoholic beverages.

The Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020 was recently tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat to amend Section 45(g) of the Act to lower the prescribed limit of alcohol content allowed in an individual.

The current threshold is 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood or 107mg of alcohol per 100 ml of urine.

The amendments also involve Section 41 to 45 of the Act which would see heavier penalties for those found guilty of reckless driving.

Wee said a recent online survey by the ministry revealed that 94 per cent of the about 345,000 respondents agreed for maximum penalties for offenders to be increased.

The amendment of the Act seeks to increase the maximum 10 years imprisonment and a RM20,000 fine to 15 years and RM100,000, respectively, for intoxicated drivers who cause fatal road crash.

“We can learn from other countries like Japan. What is important is that everyone must be responsible. Anyone who consumes alcohol, even at home, would cause a problem if they drive afterwards. When you drink, even a little, just don’t drive (and) that’s the main signal,” said Wee in reply to a nothersupplementary question by Datuk Dr Hasan Bahrom (PH-Tampin).



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