KUALA LUMPUR: Road safety authorities and lorry operators are among those who have called for stiffer punishment on drivers whose vehicles leave debris on the road, especially those that lead to serious accidents.
“There is a need to go back to the drawing board and come up with more appropriate penalties rather than allowing the offender to escape with a slap-on-the-wrist fine,” Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Dr Tam Weng Wah told The Star.
He was responding to reports that a lorry driver, whose fallen wheel caused a fatal tour bus crash on the North-South Expressway near Tapah, would likely face a maximum RM300 fine from police over the incident.
Dr Tam said yesterday stiffer penalties were necessary to hold such offenders accountable.
“We cannot blame police, they are only enforcing the law,” he said.
He said motorists using highways would have very little time to react and avoid obstructions.
“A harsher law will force motorists to be more careful in maintaining and inspecting their vehicles,” he added.
Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon also stressed the importance of good maintenance.
“It is important to check your vehicle before every trip to avoid causing or getting involved in an accident,” he said.
Wong also advised anyone who encountered items obstructing the roads to inform the relevant authorities immediately.
Pan Malaysian Lorry Owner Association president Jong Foh Jit said that if the wheel in question was a spare one from the vehicle, the driver would not have noticed that it had fallen.
“It could have been an honest mistake. I do not think that any driver would want to lose his tyre on purpose as one can cost up to RM1,000,” he said.
Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Lorry Operators Association secretary-general Alvin Choong said it was more likely that the wheel was not a spare but one which had come loose due to overloading.
“When a lorry is overloaded, it can cause damage to the vehicle’s axle and result in the separation of the wheel,” he said.