Holistic approach to road safety

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 20 Feb 2020

YOU do not need a sledgehammer to kill a fly, as the saying goes. Increasing the penalty for drink driving is premature without first looking at improving the integrity and efficiency of enforcement in all the agencies involved.

The purpose of any law and subsequently the penalties concerned is to act first and foremost as an effective deterrent.

The frequency of enforcement must move parallel with the seriousness of the offence and locations where there are high cases. Punitive measures are only secondary to the intent of such preventive measures.

Fatal accidents, injuries and damage to property caused by drink driving are also prevalent in non-alcohol related mishaps!

Thus, focusing only on drink driving may not have a significant impact on the situation as a whole.

The present laws pertaining to drink driving offences are adequate and stiff enough. The problem is the lack of effective enforcement, lackadaisical attitude and integrity of all concerned.

The belief that one can get out of an offence in the street by greasing palms or through exemptions due to positions of influence must be eliminated completely.

The manner in which enforcement is carried out has a lot of room for improvement and the authorities concerned should explore the logistics and manpower aspects of all the agencies involved.

This will enable the relevant authorities to constantly and consistently enforce the law. The hefty fine proposed may not be proportionately fair in comparison to other more serious crimes.

We must acknowledge that drinking alcohol by itself does not constitute an offence. That is why there are limits when alcohol readings are taken.

We have to approach the whole issue holistically and practically without being prejudiced by personal sentiments.

Education and persuasive guides on moderation are also key elements in the prevention of drink driving.

We should also look at the many developed countries that have a better track record in handling alcohol-related problems and offences and learn from their experience.

Efficiency in enforcement must include stepping up the frequency of operations on all traffic offences. Focusing only on certain offences will not make a significant impact on reducing road crashes.

The fact remains that traffic offences are happening all the time regardless of whether they are alcohol-related or not! In this situation, would heavier penalties deter or create more aggressive evasion from the rule of law?



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