Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bro. Yamin, I agreed with you!

Bro. Yamin, I agreed with you!

For their own safety sake, authorities should comply this rule too.

Another issue is the trend these days, off-duty police (but wearing police vest) during their public group of big bikes on weekend riding always act as outrider on-duty. They will stop another vehicle at junction to allow the group pass-by or give hand-signal instruction to others vehicle to keep left.

Are they allowed to do this?

Rear seat belt anomaly
Written by Yamin Vong, NST, CBT, 04-January 2009

THIS new year sees Malaysia getting into step with most of the developed world in its application of the law making it compulsory for the three rear passengers in cars registered after 1995 to buckle up.

Despite the anomaly that the law does not apply to passengers seated in excess of the three rear seat belts, or two in some vehicles, we congratulate Datuk Suret Singh, the Director General of the youngish Department of Road Safety, for his single-mindedness in bulldozing through with it.

He should also have a thought for the traffic police because they are excluded from wearing seat belts, front and back.

This is strange because one of their occupational hazards is trauma and death from road crashes while on duty, especially while on patrol duty and in hot pursuit of criminals and suspects.

It would be logical to say that the traffic police in patrol cars have a greater need to be strapped in. The London police are not exempt from the seat belt law.

Perhaps Datuk Suret should seek an audience with the Inspector General of Police to persuade him that the law is good for his officers. Possibly, some of them want to wear seat belts but may be prevented from doing so by the fear of being ridiculed by their macho partners.

It could also be that if they wear seat belts, they may actually compromise their physical movements, like drawing their gun to shoot at fleeing suspects?

In the same vein, Datuk Suret should have a chat with the Ministry of Health administrators about ambulance drivers. These chaps are supposed to save lives by bringing them safely to the hospital and the law clearly says that ambulance drivers are supposed to comply with traffic rules and regulations, like stopping at red lights and stop-look-go’s.

This is clearly being violated by the current crop of ambulance drivers, whether from government or private hospitals.

Malaysian motorists willingly give way to the sirens and the ambulances usually get the right of way to the top of the traffic queue at the intersection.

Then, in blatant disregard of road safety, the ambulance driver will inch his vehicle’s way forward.

Already, we have reports of accidents caused by ambulances. How ironic that a life saving vehicle should be abused by the driver, possibly leading to death and permanent injury.

Finally, for this year let’s hope the police outriders who offend motorists by their vandalism should improve their behaviour.

For the record, most of the police outriders are skilful and law abiding. It’s a handful of them who bring a bad name to the rest of the police.

Over the past two weeks, motorists have complained of some outriders who behave like hooligans.

One letter to the editor of a mainstream newspaper stated that even though he had pulled over to the right to make way for the official convoy, the outrider passed him by and vengefully knocked out his side mirror.

Another letter to the editor complained that the outrider kicked the panel of his car.

But the police themselves don’t condone these kinds of actions. According to a senior retired traffic police instructor, the motorists should take the registration number of the offending outrider’s motorcycle and make a police report.