Straight to court for unlicensed motorists

KUALA LUMPUR: Drivers and motorcyclists caught without a driving licence will no longer be let off the hook with mere compound summonses as in the past, but will be hauled to court to face charges for the offence.

With the new rule enforced by traffic police since the middle of last month, thousands of unlicensed motorists and motorcyclists have been reprimanded and summoned to face court action.

The drastic move by the authorities to come down hard on unlicensed drivers and motorcyclists is timely as the number of such offenders had soared to astronomical figures in the past years.

Police revealed that in 2014 and last year, more than 630,000 motorists and motorcyclists were issued summonses for not possessing a driver’s licence.

Such offenders were also among the main contributors to the high road accident statistics recorded each year.

Under Section 26 of the Road Transport Act, those found guilty of the offence face a fine of up to RM1,000 or a year’s jail or both.

The offender may also face additional charges under Section 90 of the same act for driving without insurance coverage which carries a fine of up to RM2,000 or three months’ jail, or both.

Federal traffic police chief SAC Mahamad Akhir Darus (pix) told theSun that the aim of implementing the new policy was to educate offenders on the dangers of driving without a valid licence.

“A driver or rider without a licence has not undergone formal training or tests. They may not know anything about traffic laws, road signs or defensive driving. Hence, they are not just a a danger to other road users but to themselves as well. We intend to send out a strong message that we do not condone the actions of such offenders.

“It is neither to burden them nor to collect revenue. It’s to educate them. The police force is an enforcement agency and not one that collects revenue,” he said.

Mahamad Akhir said under the new rule, police would no longer issue compound summonses but seize the vehicle of the offender and issue them with a order to show up in court.

“Since they do not have a licence, it would be unlawful to allow them to continue using the vehicle. Hence, we will bar the offender from driving it and seize the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle will then be summoned to show up to collect it. The vehicle owner will also be issued with a RM300 fine for allowing an unlicensed driver to use the vehicle,” he said.

In February, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had announced that police intended to go all out to resolve the issue of unlicensed drivers and would propose to the government to allow police to haul offenders to court instead of letting them off with a compound summons that carries a RM300 fine.