Illegal to hold handphones while driving

PETALING JAYA: The next time you reach out for your handphone to send or read a message while you are driving, think again as even holding your handphone while at the wheels is an offence.

Federal traffic investigation and enforcement department director SAC Datuk Mahamad Akhir Darus said police are not taking the matter lightly and will crack down on such motorists.

"Motorists caught holding a mobile phone while driving will be issued a summons. This includes using handphones while waiting at traffic lights or in traffic jams. Unlike criminal cases where the onus is on us to prove one's guilt, this is a compound summons and it is up to the offenders to prove otherwise if they wish to dispute their case," he told theSun.

"There is no reason for a motorist to be holding a mobile phone when his or her hands should be on the wheel focusing on the driving. When the car is in motion, a driver should be looking through his windscreen and not his smartphone screen. A split-second distraction is all it takes to result in a crash," he added.

On Saturday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the usage of mobile phones while driving has been identified as the main cause of road accidents in the country.

Malaysians are becoming so addicted to their smartphones that they are endangering their lives as well as everyone around them when they use it while driving.

Malaysia has notoriously earned itself as being one of the countries with the highest number of road accidents in the world and the careless usage of mobile phones while driving may have further compounded this undesired reputation.

Even those on two-wheelers have been spotted committing this offence.

TheSun spoke to more than a dozen motorists about this issue and all of them admitted that they would not hesitate to use their mobile phones while driving although it was illegal.

Many said the beeps of incoming messages were hard to resist and they hardly gave a second thought of waiting to pull over to read them.