KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 ― In a bid to curb drink-driving accidents, federal police are doubling down on sniffing out motorists behind the wheel who are under the influence of alcohol.
Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Datuk Azisman Alias told Malay Mail that the operation, codenamed “Ops Mabuk”, is now ongoing nationwide on a daily basis.
“Bukit Aman has instructed all police headquarters nationwide to conduct Ops Mabuk every day. Such an operation was initiated by Kuala Lumpur police and now has been extended to all states in the country,” he said.
He said the operations started last week, adding that policemen on roadblock duty are equipped with an electronic breath analyser to test all motorists suspected of drink-driving on the spot.
The senior policeman said there has been much attention on cases of drink-driving that end in serious injuries and deaths since the year began.
According to Azisman, 316 motorists nationwide have been arrested for drink-driving in January alone, out of 116 operations conducted to test 3,702 suspects.
In comparison, 1,116 drivers were arrested were drink-driving out of checks on 20,966 motorists and 19,281 vehicles in 911 operations all of last year.
“Based on these statistics and comparing them to the previous years, there has been a minor increase in drink and drive cases,” he said.
He cited research by the World Health Organisation showing Malaysia was among 35 nations marked to have a “high” rate of drink-driving accidents.
He said police had to resort to taking drastic action as drink-driving had become a serious social problem.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has disclosed that the government is considering increasing the fines and jail terms for those convicted of dangerous driving as well as driving under the influence, whether alcohol or drugs.
He suggested fines could rise to RM100,000 and jail up to 20 years from the current maximum of 10 years.
Azisman is a staunch supporter of heavier penalties for drunk drivers and said he had proposed a review of Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987 last month.
“We fully support the Transport Ministry and the minister who had announced that the relevant section on drunk drivers be amended,” he said, adding that feedback from the force will be given at the next meeting with ministry officials.
Azisman said tackling drink-driving is a multi-agency effort, but his traffic department has been appointed to take charge as they are the frontliners in encountering motorists under the influence.
Follow the law
Azizman advised motorists to not get behind the wheel if they have taken alcoholic drinks.
“It is as simple as that. Don't drive if you drink. This will avoid danger to yourself and others.”
At the same time, he also cautioned the public not to take the law into their own hands if they encounter drunk drivers.
“If you face a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, do not resort to violence, instead alert the police. Allow us to take action against these irresponsible drivers based on laws in the country,” he said.