The Road Transport Act needs to be amended to ensure that drivers responsible for causing deaths are banned from driving for life, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
He pointed out that Section 41 of the Act states that a driver guilty of causing death by reckless driving cannot hold or obtain a driving licence for at least three years.
“This means that after three years, it is possible for these drivers to drive again. I feel this punishment is not strict enough.
“If you cause the death of other people on the road, you should be banned from driving for the rest of your life,” Loke told a press conference on Saturday’s fatal accident near Menora Tunnel in Perak on the North-South Expressway.
Loke said Usaha Maju Trading Sdn Bhd, which owns the trailer, had been suspended for two weeks, with all 28 vehicles registered to it grounded while the ministry audited the firm.
“They are not allowed to operate within this period and I have instructed JPJ (Road Transport Department) to ensure that all their vehicles are grounded at its depot.
“After the audit is conducted, the company will be issued a show cause letter,” said Loke, adding that such companies must be held liable if their drivers were reckless.
The 41-year-old driver, who is in police custody, had tested positive for methamphetamine and had 28 traffic-related summonses to his name.
As for the amendment to the Act, Loke noted that such a change would take some time because it needed to be studied and brought to the Attorney General’s Chambers before being tabled in Parliament.
“We also need to gather feedback from agencies such as Miros (Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research),” he said.
The Road Transport Act also provides for offenders to be jailed for two to 10 years, and fined between RM5,000 and RM20,000.
Miros chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye expressed his support for such a ban.
“Drastic action needs to be taken to be a deterrent,” he said, noting that there had been cases where drivers were back on the road after paying a fine.
He also called on employers to be more involved in road safety.
“This is everyone’s responsibility. When they engage these drivers, they have to ensure that they are disciplined and that they observe the law,” he said. – The Star