IT was reported that the information to be gathered during the current re-registration exercise by the Land Public Transport Commission (LPTC) would be used to start a database containing information on drivers of commercial and public transport vehicles.
Over the past 10 years, I have been renewing my driving and public service vehicle (PSV) licences at the Road Transport Department and taxi driver’s card at the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board.
I would expect the LPTC to obtain such records from these two agencies instead of starting from scratch unless no such records were kept or had been destroyed.
Also, the LPTC should not wait until the end of its re-registration exercise on Sept 30 or for sufficient manpower to show that it means business.
Just haul up some bad apples and make an example of them. Publicise such exercises to send shivers down the spines of the rest.
Equally important, exemplary drivers should be given recognition and made role models. We all need to be inspired.
A more dynamic approach is needed to improve the public road transport sector, which must be at its doldrums, with express bus operators pleading to the authorities to take over their business.
It is time for LPTC to announce new measures for the road transport sector to allay the notion that they are merely taking over and continuing with more of the same.
To introduce standards and make the role of driving road transport vehicles a profession, we can start with the physical and mental health of the drivers.
The current requirement is for them to have their Goods Driving Licence (GDL) or PSV licence renewed annually with a medical certificate confirming their fitness to drive.
It is common knowledge that many GDL and PSV licences are renewed with forged medical certificates and many of these drivers would fail a medical test.
Sitting over long hours, fighting fatigue or sleepiness, fending off hunger or thirst, holding the bladder or bowel until the next rest stop, craving for a cigarette and rushing to a destination will eventually take a toll on these drivers.
Unhealthy drivers are like moving time bombs on our roads. However, they should be treated with compassion and not be taken off permanently from our roads but given a chance to rehabilitate.
The LPTC would have to source for funds to carry out such a humane exercise, as large numbers of drivers are self-employed and live from hand to mouth.
The recent case of a cabbie in Johor Baru driven to suicide at the Taxi Drivers Club after loan sharks snatched his taxi illustrates this point.
Aggressive and abusive drivers, particularly those driving taxis, should be tested for drugs and mental health. They should not be publicly shamed by announcing their names. However, their vehicle registration should be made known to send a strong message to other drivers.
The defunct Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board stipulated that all commercial and public transport vehicles display the same phone and SMS numbers in a sticker at the back of the vehicles for the public to lodge complaints.
It seems a perfect way to drive fear into every driver but alas, it was only in theory.
Y.S. CHAN, Kuala Lumpur.
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