Reckless motorists who belong to the “P” or Probationary class and those from the category of Competent Driver’s License (C.D.L.) can have their licenses revoked by the Road Transport Department.
Nevertheless, the Demerit System or Sistem Kejara which is currently adopted by the J.P.J. seems to be unable to tackle the problem of punishing reckless drivers. Reports say, in 2009, only 15 C.D.L. and 15 “P” drivers have had their licenses revoked or suspended by the authorities. Compare this to 5,282 show-cause notices which were issued to reckless drivers.
First and foremost, the Malaysian public should first of all understand exactly how the Demerit System operates. Under our present system, a C.D.L. driver who builds up a 15 demerit points within a 2 years period can have his driving license suspended. Whereas a “P” driver who chalks up 10 demerit points within a year can have his license suspended.
Under the current system, a driver who is issued a summons for a traffic offense is given a period of 30 days or 1 month to pay up his summons. It becomes an offense only when he or she pays up the summons itself or if he or she is found guilty by the courts. Only then can demerit points be tabulated.
There is however a loophole in the present Demerit System. Most motorists choose not pay up or settle their summonses. This goes on to explain why there is such a high rate of unpaid traffic summonses in the country today.
However, the Road Transport Department announced recently, the Demerit System will soon undergo a revamp. It would soon be overhauled to give the J.P.J. more power to deal with reckless drivers.
What are some of the changes that will be introduced into the Demerit System?
1) There will not be any appeal for motorist. Drivers who obtain 15 demerit points cannot in future appeal to the department. His or her driving license will automatically be suspended.
2) Another proposal change that would be introduced into the system will be the provision of 2 months grace period to settle existing summons instead of the present 1 month or 30 days grace.
3) No demerit points will be imposed if one pays up the summons within the stipulated period. However, after the grace period is over, demerit points will be automatically imposed.
4) Another proposal change which the system will undergo is that the department from henceforth will be able to revoke a person’s license without first having to obtain it from the offender. In previous cases, many offenders refuse to surrender their licenses when ordered to do so by the department. The department from now onwards will be able to revoke a license directly from its database.
The authority, that is the J.P.J. has always felt that the Demerit System which was implemented in 1984 has always been a failure. With this in mind, the J.P.J. has been unable to obtain the necessary powers to act against errant drivers. In reality, the authorities feel that enforcement through the Demerit system had been slowing down since 2005.
With the recent announcement whereby the Demerit System will soon undergo a massive revamp, it is hoped that reckless drivers will soon be handed the rightful punishment they deserve.
In the latest announcement to the Malaysian driving public, the Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha feels the Road Transport Department has to adopt a stricter stance with regards to the Demerit System.
In fact, the success of the system should lie squarely on the shoulders of the Minster of Transport himself. As such, he should prove to the public his mettle. He should see to it that the new revamped Demerit System is not a failure.