KUALA LUMPUR: Anti-drink and drive campaigns should be able to drive home the message to the target audience to be effective.
The Alliance for Safe Community (Ikatan) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said this as the government plans to review the Road Transport Act for provisions that are particularly related to the offence.
He said Malaysia needs to look at how to make prevention education effective, to the point that those who want to consume alcohol do not drive.
“This is to ensure that only those who do not drink, drive; or those who want to drink travel with a designated driver,” Lee told the New Straits Times today.
He also said the government should allocate funds to come up with an effective awareness anti-drink and drive campaign.
Lee said it was also crucial that once the law is in place, it is enforced with integrity without incidence of people trying to negotiate their way out of their offences by bribing police officers.
He also agreed with the Malaysia Psychiatric Association’s suggestion that the government should look at mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment of drink-driving offenders. This means that the offenders would be required to undergo an assessment of alcohol abuse problems and participate in treatment programmes.
Such methods, experts said, could lead to fewer repeat offenders.
In announcing the cabinet’s decision to review the Road Transport Act, Transport Minister Anthony Loke had said the move would include an assessment of blood alcohol content standards, heavier penalties as well as the effectiveness of awareness campaigns.
Loke said the government was looking at reviewing the current blood alcohol content (BAC) standards in Malaysia, which he described as ‘quite liberal’ as Malaysia’s current threshold is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards instead prescribes a limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, which the ministry is looking to emulate.
The review is mainly for penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs under Section 44.
Under current laws, offenders face a fine of between RM8,000 and RM20,000 and a jail term of between three and 10 years.
The ministry hopes to table the Bill in Parliament in June or July, after consultation with all relevant stakeholders including the police.
Apart from penalties, Loke said the ministry would also look at other aspects such as enforcement, health assessment and stepping up awareness campaigns on drink driving.