Rules are meant to be broken.
That’s the same excuse you tell yourself every single time you find yourself committing a minor traffic offence, consoling your inner demons that it’ll be the last time you run the red light or reply that Facebook comment at 85kmh on the freeway.
Fact – Most of us with a valid driving license are aware of the many traffic offences taught back in driving school. But when you’re flagged down during a roadblock and charged over your botak tyres, you scramble to find the legal logic behind it.
Therefore, we’re here to give you some guidance and shed some light on various traffic and vehicle-related offences that you may have committed or are currently committing without even realising it’s an offence in the first place.
1. Sambung Bayar
Not exactly a traffic offence, the term Sambung Bayar is pretty common in the country. It’s sort of like a hire purchase agreement that’s not recognised by the law. Basically, it’s an automobile purchase where the buyer gets ownership of a vehicle that’s still registered under the seller’s name, continues to use said vehicle while paying for the monthly installment.
Hear us, this is an offence under the Hire-Purchase Act 1967, Section 38 that could land both the buyer and seller in jail (up to three years), a RM30,000 fine or both.
2. Don’t (Get) Sick & Drive
Though this doesn’t apply to the common cold, your fitness level plays a part in the status of your driving license.
If you are in any way, knowingly aware that you have a health condition or physical disabilities (epilepsy for example) that may contribute to the risk of danger to other road users, then under the Road Transport Act 1987 (RTA) – Act 333, Section 30 (1), the Government reserves the right to not grant you a driving license.
If you’re fit and fine upon the procurement of your license but later in the years found out you’re unfit to drive, then legally you’re obligated by the law to give up your license. If you continue to bend the rules, you will be thrown into the can for three months or fined RM1,000 or both.
3. Young & Dangerous
If you’re below 16 years old, you’re not allowed to drive. No amount of legal reasoning can squeeze your way out of this. Not a chance.
But if you’re 17, you are, however, allowed to ride a motorcycle (with a valid license, of course). This rule in Section 39 in addition, restricts a person below 21 to drive heavy machinery and vehicles on public roads. This means if you’re underage, you can’t drive a bus, lorry or even a tank.
4. Kiki Do You Love Me?
Remember that trend?
We’re not here to remind you of that (sometimes adorable) trend but getting in and out of a moving vehicle is an offence punishable by law. If you or your friends decides to reenact the scenes from White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen with the President escorted by security details jumping out of a moving Cadillac One, do know that under Section 50 (1) of the RTA, the Government can saman you and your Kiki behind all the way to Kajang prison.
This clause also covers the act of stepping on riding boards or side steps of any moving vehicles. Bet you don’t know what that is, do you?
5. Booze, Brash, Bike
So they say you shouldn’t drink and drive. And just so happen you felt like whipping out that 20” foldie bicycle you have in the boot to cycle your way home.
Do not do that.
As harmless as a two-wheel Raleigh is, operating a non-motorised vehicle like bicycle, kick / electric scooter or even a skateboard on a public road while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will definitely land you in the slammer with a hefty fine.
Why? Because the such act falls under the same law under Subsection 42(1), 43(1), 44(1), 45A(1), you get the drift. This subsection also covers reckless and dangerous driving on a non-motorised vehicle. Recall any dangerous bicycle subculture recently?
6. Old But Gold
Back in September, Lembah Pantai MP, Fahmi Fadzil had to face a bit of a public scrutiny over a Tweet he made about a beatup, broken-down car he allegedly made fun of in Pantai Dalam. The car was in such a terrible physical condition that it’s arguably unfit to drive. The matter was eventually solved with the MP pulling all the strings to help car owner, Yap Chi Hoe with financial and even medical aid.
Legally however, if you’re caught driving a vehicle that’s in a bad shape that also poses a risk on public safety, then an officer in charge will have the right to impound your vehicle for inspection. You’ll be given 10 days to fix whatever issues you have with your car but if still caught driving it, under Subsection 59 (9) you may face a RM2,000 fine or six months jail or both. Phew!
7. No Strings Attached
This subsection although strange, can still be found in the RTA under Subsection 80.
It says any person found to have placed any form of string, chain (or similar) in any position on public roads that may endanger the lives of road users or cause damage to private vehicles, may face jail time up to six months or RM2,000 or both.
This clearly reminds us of a whole lot of jump-scare, decapitation scenes in the Final Destination installments. Just horrific!
8. Structure Danger
The basikal lajak kids are a nuisance and your best judgement tells you to erect a road hump in front of your house?
Just know that without any prior approvals, building, constructing and erecting any form of structure on public or reserve road is an offence under Subsection 84(1).
Even if you feel the bicycle gangs in your neighbourhood are getting on your nerves, do know that only the local councils or Public Works Department reserve the right to build such structure like road humps.
The logic is that without proper specifications, your illegal structure may do more harm than good to other road users. So the next time you’re feeling like Bob the Builder and your friends ask you, “Can you fix it?”.
Just say no.
9. Weird But Warranted
There are also other, pretty uncommon offences that many of us fail to acknowledge like:
Driving while drowsy / sleepy
Leaving the boot open in a moving vehicle
Two-tone (or more) horn
Driving a vehicle with botak tyres
Failure to adhere to the law for these offences will land you the same punishment – fine or jail or if you’re really lucky – both.
For the complete list of the Road Transport Act 1987 (updated February 2013), click here.