At the Parliament lobby on Nov 15, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai announced that the Cabinet has fixed fines at RM150 under the Automated Enforcement System (AES).
The rate is also applicable for old summonses. AES was first introduced in 2012 and some 1.6 million summonses remain unpaid.
He warned those who failed to pay will be blacklisted by the Road Transport Department (RTD) and barred from renewing their driving licence and road tax.
Lawyers were quick to point out that such punitive action was not provided under the law, only to say that motorists must be produced in court for the legal process to take its course.
Such arguments between a minister and lawyers have left the public confused. Until someone steps forward with an authoritative statement, perhaps I can help clear some confusion.
Traffic summonses are issued to named drivers, while notifications of offence are posted to the address of the vehicle’s registered owner or stuck between a wiper blade and windscreen.
Should a vehicle be stopped and the driver disagreed that an offence was committed, the policeman is likely to issue a summons.
The name of the court, date and time will also be stated in the summons. The driver may later choose to have the summons compounded by paying a fine at the police station.
If the summons is not settled in time, both policeman and driver are to appear in court on the set date, but this has not been happening.
If this is true, it would be a sheer mockery of the summons and legal process. But why is this elephant in the room not addressed?
As for offences caught by camera such as speeding and jumping red lights, summonses could not be issued without the driver’s particulars.
As such, notifications of traffic offence demanding for driver’s particulars are issued. It is the same for parking offences.
The onus will be on the vehicles’ registered owners to provide the particulars of drivers to the enforcement agencies such as the police, RTD, City Halls and Town Councils.
For example, Kuala Lumpur City Hall alone issued more than a million notices each year from 2013-2015
Just 16.9 percent of the notices were settled in 2013. The percentage dropped to 12.7 percent the following year and 10.5 percent last year.
As for AES, 13.9 percent of the 1.91 million notices were settled. The balance of 86.1 percent or 1,644,510 remains unpaid. Calculated at RM150 each, the total sum is RM246,676,500.
If all the enforcement agencies were to work in concert, vehicle owners and drivers will have to cough out a few billion ringgit, as many cannot afford to stop running or driving their vehicles.
Some may try to sue RTD for withholding their driving licence or road tax. But even if they win eventually, they will be without a valid driving licence or road tax for months or years.
Many other motorists would join the millions of unlicensed motorcyclists and drivers in the country, estimated to be around 6.7 million in September last year.
The crackdown on unpaid notices and summonses would result in more vehicles without road tax and motor insurance cover.
With 489,606 road accidents last year resulting in 6,706 fatalities, a large number of victims could not receive compensation from insurance companies because there was no cover.
Taking into account that we have 1.6 million civil servants to administer the country, the situation should not have been so messy.
Hopefully, all this confusion is not part of a grand design.
Source : Y S Chan@The Heat Malaysia Online