The Parliament has passed the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020, which carries heavier penalties for those who cause death from drunk or reckless driving.

According to Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, the amendments were done in a comprehensive manner not to deprive people of their right to consume alcohol, but to deter drunk or reckless driving incidents.

"It doesn't matter to me if you want to drink all you want or even swim in a pool of alcohol, but it becomes my concern when you drive after doing so," Wee said in a ministerial reply in Parliament, reported The Star.

Wee added that discussions are also underway with e-hailing companies to display stickers on their vehicles to encourage those under the influence of alcohol to use their service.

Under the new amendments, drivers who cause death due to dangerous or reckless driving cna be jailed up to 10 years and fined a maximum of RM50,000, if convicted.

On top of that, they will also have their driving licence suspensed for five years, upon conviction.

Currently, the punishment for dangerous or reckless driving is two to 10 years in jail, and a fine between RM5,000 and RM20,000. Offenders also have can have their driving licence suspended for two years.

Drunk drivers face stiffer penalties under the amended law, with those operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, liquor or drug, and causing the death of someone in the process, being put behind bars between 10 and 15 years, and fined up to RM100,000.

They also can be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years from the date of conviction.

The Bill also seeks to lower the prescribed limit of alcohol content allowed in an individual to 22mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, or 67mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine.

This is lower than the current threshold of 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath; 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood; or 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine.

Source: The Star
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