I can't believe that it's been that long since I've last blogged!
I am now at the tail end of my 9 months of chambering. So have I figured out if practice is for me? Well, i'll leave that story for another post.
Today, i'd like to share with you some of the research that i have done regarding the Road Transport Act 1987.
Unfortunately, I encountered a minor accident with this road bully a week ago. And you all know how road bullies infuriate me to the core. So what happened?
I'll try to make this as brief as possible. I was on Jalan Dato Abu Bakar 16/1 heading towards Jalan Kemajuan. Jalan Dato Abu Bakar 16/1 was split into 3 lanes. I was on the middle lane and this road bully was on the right lane. After the traffic light, only the left and middle lane is permitted to head straight whilst cars on the right lane is only allowed to turn right. So what happened after the traffic light turned green? Surprise surprise, he tried to cut into my lane. Sadly, this wasn't the first time i was encountering such drivers on the road. Usually i'd just let them cut in and just let them go. But this time, i was already ahead of him, and yet, he tried to push me to the left lane and forced his way unto my lane. I honked him as i couldn't go to the left lane as there were other cars there but he kept on trying to force me out of my RIGHTFUL lane and kept coming closer! So i had to almost come to a stop whilst still sounding my honk but he still insisted on forcing his way unto the lane i was on! He saw me (because he was right beside my car but i was ahead of him) and exchanged glares but guess what he did when he couldn't get his way?
He literally bang the back right side of my car (passenger door)! How dare he! I put on my emergency lights and was ready to get out of my car. Surprise surprise, he reversed, tried to make his way from the right side of the road all the way to the left side, causing other vehicles to honk him and to come to a stop, passed by my car, stared at me as though i did something wrong and then drove off!
How to not get exasperated by people like this you tell me? Gah!
So anyways, I was told by the Investigating Officer on my case that in the event this road bully refuses to co-operate or to make a report within 24 hours, there's nothing he can do and the only remedy i'd have against this guy is to claim his insurance for the damages to my car which would cause his NCB to be deducted (not the most ideal remedy if you ask me). He told me that he cannot even issue him a fine because the owner of the car might not be the person who was driving the car at that point in time.
And before i carry on, I must make this clear to everyone reading this that the damage to my car IS NOT THAT BAD. In fact, it's a pretty minor damage. HOWEVER, i must make it clear to you that the main reason why I am pursuing this claim is because i just cannot tolerate such behaviors! I can't stand people who do something wrong, not only deliberately choose not to own up to it but worse still, try to make the victim feel bad and try to make us feel as though we did something wrong.
So yes. It's NOT about the damage. It's about my hope to make them road bullies realize that they cannot just do whatever they want and get away without any consequences.
So is it true? Is it true that the IO cannot even issue him a fine should he refuse to assist in this investigation?
DUTY TO STOP IN CASE OF ACCIDENTS
s.52 of the Road Transport Act 1987 (RTA) requires the driver to STOP whenever an accident occurs. And if required, they are suppose to give his name and addresss and also the name and address of the owner and the registration number of the motor vehicle. And that's not all!
It is MANDATORY for him to make a report at the nearest police station within 24 hours! He SHALL provide his driving licence and SHALL render assistance to the police. Failure to do any of the above would render him GUILTY OF AN OFFENCE.
As there were no specific penalties provided under s.52, s.119 of the RTA provides that he could be fine RM 2,000.00 ! TWO THOUSAND RINGGIT. That's right. Or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
Didn't know you had a duty to stop whenever an accident occurs huh? Always saw that as a common courtesy? Well now we know that it is actually your duty under the law to stop whenever an accident happens. Otherwise you could be guilty of an offence!
POWERS OF ROAD TRANSPORT OFFICERS IN INVESTIGATION
Under s.114 of the RTA, the investigating officer has the power to require information whether in writing or orally from any person supposed to be acquainted with the facts of the case under investigation. So, if this road bully refuses to comply with furnishing any required information by the police, he SHALL BE GUILTY OF AN OFFENCE and be liable to a fine not exceeding RM 5,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or BOTH!
FIVE THOUSAND RINGGIT for not furnishing information that was requested from the police. Five thousand or risk going to jail for a year! (or less)
WHAT IF THE OWNER IS NOT THE DRIVER a.k.a ROAD BULLY?
s.115 of the RTA provides that the owner of the car SHALL give the information required by the police as to the identity and address of the person who was driving the car at the time the accident happened. If the owner fails to do so within 7 days, he shall be guilty of an offence unless he proves that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained the information required. This offence, if committed, by virtue of s.119, he could be liable to a fine of RM 2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
So the fact that the IO told me that he cannot issue the owner of the car a fine as he might not have been the driver is NOT TRUE. In fact, s.115A of the RTA provides that if the owner of the car fails to provide details of the identity of the driver or his address, the owner shall be DEEMED the driver at the time the accident happened. This means that the owner will be treated as though he was the person driving the car when the accident happened even though he denies it! So if you don't wanna be deemed the driver then co-operate and furnish the identity and address of the driver at that time.
POWER TO ORDER PRODUCTION OF MOTOR VEHICLE AND LICENCE
And last but not least, the police has the power to order the registered owner to produce the car or licence of the car, otherwise, he shall be guilty of an offence. By virtue of s.119, he could be liable to a fine of RM 2,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
So is it true that the IO cannot even issue him a fine should he refuse to co-operate?
By not stopping; by not making a report within 24 hours; by refusing to render his assistance to the investigating officer; by not providing information requested by the police; this, in itself would already render him liable to a fine of at least RM 2,000.00 and if not RM 5,000.00. He could even be liable to go to jail if he refused to comply.
And FYI, when you encounter such road bully cases and this guy is a difficult one who doesn't want to co-operate, some insurance would reject your claim for loss of use, the costs to you incurred for police report and documentation etc. They would reject it on the basis that the road bully (their insured) did not inform them of this accident.
FYI, under s.104 of the RTA, the road bully is under a duty to NOTIFY HIS INSURANCE as soon as possible after the accident.
And just in case you were wondering which provision provides that people on the far right lane is only permitted to turn right, refer to Rule 8 of the ROAD TRAFFIC RULES 1959.
Rule 8(1) provides that at an intersection where the road is marked into 3 traffic lanes, the nearside lane shall only be used by vehicles turning left, the centre lane shall be used only by vehicles travelling straight ahead and the offside lane shall be used only by vehicles turning right.
So there you have it, just some knowledge and information about the RTA which I have come to know after doing some research on this. Because there was no way the Malaysian Law was that lopsided when it came to such road accident cases.
Now all that's left? Enforcement. The hardest part. The Law is there. Now, will it be enforced?
We shall see.
Till next time.