Friday, December 7, 2012

The Pleasure of Driving....

Driving on the country roads and even in the vicinity of city and town areas, used to be a pleasure. Especially with the loved ones by your side. You could talk and chatter all you want, crack jokes, and of course, say sweet nothing to someone holding your hands and showering you with sweet....smiles.You really don't need both hands to drive.

Not anymore. Driving in the jammed up roads of today is nothing less than a torture. In the cities especially at peak hours, it can turn one into a nervous wreck.Aside from the bumper-to-bumper crawl when your whole attention must be focused on the brake lights of the vehicle in front of you, you've to keep watching what the cars on the left and right lanes (if you took the middle one) might do. A sudden swerve into your lane, with or without any signal, will make your heart jump into your mouth, in spite of which some curses or blasphemy might issue from your throat. Chances are the interloper into your lane might even get angry with you for not letting him or her change lane. That will make your blood pressure shoot up.

That's not all. The second driver on your left or in the back seat might get rattled up by your inappropriate reaction to the intrusion. Or the driver on your right might get riled up by your sudden swerve to avoid the same, that is if your didn't really bump into his side. The disturbance caused could be simply disparaging.

One would have thought that driving on the rural countryside with the beloved one on your side could still become a romantic cruise. It's certainly not so anymore. The road could be jammed as in the city area or too many lightweight motorcycles could be bothering you. But teen that is not too bad, Worse is the speed limit set up everywhere, especially on straight and nice roads where putting an arm around the loved one's shoulder is still exciting. Before you realize it, you could be overspeeding or committing some other traffic offenses as caught by the AES or police cameras. Yes, you can claim trial but the pleasure of driving is no more and the road has become a risk not only to your life but also your purse.
Since the Automated (Traffic Control) Enforcement System was launched two months ago in Malaysia, it was reported that over 250,000 summons had even issued using 14 cameras.This means that if 28 cameras were used over four months a million summons could be issued, grossing a possible fine of RM300 million, or almost a billion a year. Multiply the number of cameras and a few billions can be made on the road users who must pay other taxes and tolls, and a continually increasing cost of gas. This is indeed the easiest way of making money ( please don't call it highway robbery!), next to imposing a heavier toll. Since more and more cars will be coming onto the road every year, this really looks like a very promising business,


abdulhalimshah said...

Let us look at the bigger picture. The issue which is being debated hotly is how to reduce the death to vehicle ratio for the Nation as we seemed to be unenviously is holding as one of the toppers on the world's list. Despite all the billions of ringgit which the country have spent on improving road engineering,road-safety campaigns and enforcement, the results have been extremely disappointing. The crux of the problem is not the lack of effort but more on the attitude of our people who use the roads, from pedestrians to trailer drivers. We simply have come to our wit's end. We cannot blame the rot simply on enforcement and the government, the people who commit the violations are equally guilty. The numbers are not important but the costs to lives are monumental. Even if there are those who benefited from the supply of the equipment that are installed to record the violators, the most important result from the recent implementation of the AES is the reduction of road accidents. We know what human beings inclinations are, unless they are stopped by the cops, they run foul whenever they can. Policemen cannot be on their tail for 24 hours, but the cameras can. Therefore it is a positive method to have been proven so far. If you do not want to get caught by the camera, keep to the speed limit. It is a simple thing to do but our nafs say something else.Please drive with your senses rather with your emotions.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
Initially I was disturbed by reports of vandalism to the cameras. Now I don't anymore. In fact I laud the positive steps taken by the govt.
I see the issue being played up for 2 reasons: 1) Any issue given a political stance means unnecessary problems, why? because of the hidden agenda eg language, religion,education and in this case, alleged cronyism. The underlying reason ie road safety is thrown to the wind. 2) Opposing it to cater to populist reasons in view of the impending GE13.
The brave stance by the govt will succeed for 2 reasons: a) the punitive penalty will make road users conform (unwillingly at first) and b) time and space will prove it to be a wise move. Time -a review within a time frame of say every 6 months will indicate falling and reducing figures progressively (I believe so!) Space - accident figures will impact more in urban areas brought on by numbers of vehicles and populace. This will make the realisation and awareness faster.
The collection of fines will correspondingly reduce to counter shouts of cronyism against it. I suppose time will tell.


norzah said...

Whatever members of the public say about the AES, the director general of RIMV had stated the system will continued to be implemented. Yes, no need for the traffic police to lie in hiding with the camera to catch the speedsters and the violators of traffic regulations. With more cameras planted all along the roads, we can be sure that millions of summons will be issued until our road users learn to drive at less than 90 kph in the Federal Territory and Selangor and 110kph in other States.

If the system proves effective in reducing accidents and deaths on the road as you claimed Akhi Halim, we will all join you in praising those responsible for introducing the system. Let ht public pay for their traffic offenses. Those with money to spare can still go on burning rubber on the road.and pay the fines, Others like me must keep checking the wallet before pressing the pedal of our car too hard.

Yes, Akhi Kaykuala, time will tell. Let's see how many summons will be issued when all the cameras to be acquired have been installed and are operational. How many millions will be collected before our drivers begin to take heed because off the pinch on their pocket, and the number of summons issued begins to fall. I wonder how the company that installs and operates the system will make its money than. Maybe the government will pay the company from the normal government budget.

abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
I am not an advocate of the AES system per se as the only panacea to solve the seemingly simple problem of abiding by the law on our roads. What is the basic cause of accidents have been analysed by MIROS which have been tasked with the responsibility of finding ways and means of making our roads safe again. Since the Institute has been established, several recommendations have been made to make our roads safer, such as adopting the system which have been proven in other countries to reduce the rate of accidents. I recall an occasion where Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was PM, he expressed his frustration on how futile the results of many road safety measures been over the years and the Govt was at its wit's end as how to overcome it. Now we have done all the 3 E's, ie. better road engineering with the proliferation of first class highways straddling the Nation from North-South to East-West. Numerous public safety campaigns had been launched costing billions and lastly on enforcement, millions of police summons and compounds have beein ignored. Now what is left for us to do? Let us give this one the last chance to come back to your driving pleasure as what we all look forward to. Happy motoring.