Public has responsibility to report errant motorists

The two new offences under the Road Traffic Act will correspond broadly to offences of rash act and negligent act under the Penal Code.
The two new offences under the Road Traffic Act will correspond broadly to offences of rash act and negligent act under the Penal Code.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Government's plan to increase penalties for dangerous and careless driving by motorists could not have come at a more opportune time (Harsher penalties on the cards for driving offences, Feb 22).

With more vehicles on our roads and a noticeable increase in irresponsible driving, existing law enforcement efforts and deterrent measures do not seem to have the desired effect.

Road manners are often an indicator of how a society has progressed in terms of civil behaviour. One has to only stand by a road junction to observe the lack of courtesy displayed on our roads.

For example, the Highway Code test teaches drivers to use their indicators when turning, switching lanes, negotiating bends, slowing down and overtaking.

Yet, motorists demonstrate an attitude of complacency and apathy.

A whole plethora of other bad practices on the road, such as tailgating, speeding and road-hogging, are common occurrences too.

Members of the public have a civic and moral duty to report recalcitrant motorists to the authorities to make them realise the folly of their ways.

Society should tackle drink-driving effectively from many different directions simultaneously.

Beefed-up surveillance and tougher penalties for drink drivers are some approaches that must be part of the solution so that people will think twice about taking to the road when intoxicated.

Vehicles should also be equipped with devices that detect intoxicated drivers and keep the car from starting, or make it very conspicuous, by, say, flashing its lights, honking the horn or preventing the driver from over-steering.

Though tougher penalties for bad driving come with their own costs, it is clear that increased police surveillance and other strategies must be a component of society's effort to deal with irresponsible driving habits.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Public has responsibility to report errant motorists'. Print Edition | Subscribe