Malaysia to fine drivers who use phone on the road

BENTONG • Malaysia will be deploying more eyes on the road to monitor drivers who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

Datuk Seri Liow said on Sunday that the Road Transport Department would come down hard on errant drivers for such offences.

Enforcement personnel and two types of cameras - static and mobile - would be deployed, and those caught red-handed would be slapped with a RM300 (S$98) fine, he said.

"We prohibit drivers from using their handphones on the road. We have given them a lot of advice, yet there are many who still do so," he said. "Focus on the road and not your handphones when you are driving."

He told reporters that strict action was necessary to reduce the number of accidents caused by using mobile phones while driving. He added that using navigation apps such as Waze was permitted, but the mobile phone should be mounted on a phone holder.

Mr Liow said the use of mobile phones by drivers is one of the 20 offences that would soon be included in the Automated Awareness Safety System (Awas), a combination of the Automated Enforcement System and demerit points system.

Traffic offenders who are caught under the Awas system will face suspension and even revocation of their driving licences.

"The accident rates are very high. There were 5,310 fatalities from January to September this year while for the whole of last year, there were 7,152 deaths," he said. "We want to reduce these figures by 10 per cent every year and it is really challenging," he added.

Mr Liow said the main aim of executing strict enforcement was to save lives and not to penalise road users. "If none of us breaks the rules, the roads will be safer for everyone," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia to fine drivers who use phone on the road'. Print Edition | Subscribe