Loke: Heavier penalties soon for reckless driving, DUI offences

PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet has agreed to introduce stiffer punishment for offences related to reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (pic) said the Road Transport Act would be reviewed and amended to increase the existing penalties for such offences.

"This matter received serious attention in today's (Jan 29) Cabinet meeting. The Cabinet agreed in principle for the Transport Minister to review and amend the existing provisions and tighten laws concerning driving under the influence and reckless driving.

"We will be having discussions with stakeholders including the police and the Attorney General's Chambers to seek their views on enforcement and laws," said Loke at a press conference at his ministry here on Wednesday.

Loke said the amendments could be tabled in Parliament as early as the second sitting in June or July this year.

Among the provisions to be reviewed includes the prescribed limit of alcohol content in the driver's blood.

Loke said the current law permits up to 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

"However, the international limit set by WHO (World Health Organisation) is 50mg in 100ml of blood ... we feel this needs to be reviewed," said Loke.

At present, those found driving intoxicated beyond the permissible amount can be jailed up to ten years and fined up to RM20,000.

Loke said Section 41 of the Road Transport Act concerning reckless and dangerous driving which causes fatal accidents, would also be reviewed.

"We need to re-look existing provisions and ensure those who are found guilty of reckless driving will receive more appropriate punishment," he said.

Currently, those who are found guilty for reckless driving and causes death can be jailed up to 10 years and fined a maximum of RM20,000.

They will also be banned from driving for at least three years.

While drafting the amendments, Loke said the ministry would also be boosting its campaign against drunk driving.

"We have instructed the Road Safety Department to enhance the "Don't Drink and Drive" campaign. Although this campaign has been around for awhile, it needs to be brought back to remind people not to drive while intoxicated," said Loke.

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