Automated Enforcement System To Discipline Road Users. End Of The Road For Reckless Drivers?
The government will install more than 700 surveillance cameras at strategic locations and black spots throughout the country from middle of next year to 2010 in its effort to reduce road accidents and fatalities.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the Cabinet had approved the ministry's proposal to install the cameras under the automated enforcement system (AES) to nab motorists committing traffic offences such as beating the traffic light, overtaking on the double line and driving on the emergency lane. AES is among the four projects proposed by the Transport Ministry under its five-year masterplan on road safety (2006-2010). The other projects involve programmes in education, enforcement, engineering and environment protection. "The cameras will be installed at traffic lights, highways, federal and state roads while a mobile camera surveillance unit will be set up and deployed to certain places," he told Malaysian journalists.
Chan is leading a 16-member delegation, including Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Negri Sembilan state exco member Datuk Peter Lai Yit Fee on a six-day visit to study the road safety programme in Sweden, which has the lowest road accident and fatality rates in the world.
Chan said through the AES, the surveillance camera would monitor every car movement and record its speed with the information relayed to the control centre which would identify speeding vehicles, those beating traffic lights, driving on the emergency lane and overtaking on the double line. The enforcement agency such as the police will then ascertain whether the drivers have committed any traffic offence.
"Once the police have established a case, a ticket will be issued and sent to the car owner," Chan said, adding that the surveillance cameras would function 24 hours a day, seven days a week and throughout the year. However, he did not reveal the cost of the project except saying that road users would not be burdened with the installation of the cameras as no cost would be passed on to them.
He said such a system had proven to be effective in disciplining drivers and other road users in countries such as Australia, the United States, in Europe, China and South Korea where the figures showed reduction of traffic offences by about 40 per cent. "This is because the drivers would know that once they are sitting behind the wheel, there are surveillance cameras monitoring their movements. With this, their awareness of enforcement will automatically reach a high level," he added.
"The Cabinet had last month approved the installation of such cameras and so far, we have received 10 proposals from local and international companies that want to provide us with their system (on the AES project)." He said a working committee was hence set up chaired by the Transport Ministry's secretary-general and comprising officers from the Public Works Department, Ministry of Internal Security, Ministry of Finance, police and the Economic Planning Unit to evaluate the proposals.
"We will begin with one city and one highway which will be announced later under the first phase," he said, adding that the system would be extended to cover all cities, highways, state and federal roads. "Under the second phase, a mobile surveillance camera unit will also be established.
"We will start with the surveillance cameras monitoring the drivers and other road users for speeding and beating traffic lights under the first and second phase. "Under the third phase, the surveillance cameras will cover other traffic offences such as overtaking on the double line and driving on the emergency lane."
Chan said the installation of the surveillance cameras was not meant to increase the collection of fines but more for disciplining road users under the road safety masterplan through better enforcement. "We will also amend the Road Transport Act in order to allow all the evidence captured on camera to be accepted by the court as evidence. The Cabinet has also given us the approval on this, " he added.
In light of this, Chan advised Malaysians to be prepared to accept the changes following the government's decision to implement the AES. According to statistics provided by the Transport Ministry, there were 6,188 road accident fatalities in Malaysia last year with a ratio of 4.2 deaths for every 10,000 registered vehicles. "It is so disheartening to see so many deaths. If we don't act on this, I don't think we are a responsible government," Chan said.
**** It is hoped that after the expensive 'fact-finding' holiday to Sweden (By the way, why was the Malacca CM included on this trip? Is he 'coming' as an expert on 'matters' Swedish?) the government will at last on this one occasion at least, walk the talk and implement the system properly and impartially. If VIPs break the law don't let them get away by pulling strings. Suspend or cancel their licences. They can afford drivers.
I don't know how the government is going to manage it, but with a fourth-rate maintenance culture amply demonstrated in almost everything we've started with fanfare so far, it is hoped that we can get some dedicated people in, to ensure that the implementation and enforcement is unrelenting and continous and the punishment swift and harsh. That's the only method to get the road swine out of the way for good.
If it works Chan Kong Choy, I'll even vote for you in the next elections.