The newly-established Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department was officially unveiled during the 209th anniversary of the formation of the police force on 25 March 2016.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who launched the department – Bukit Aman’s 10th – said it would be vital in reducing the number of fatalities on the road.
“A total of 489,606 road accident cases were recorded last year resulting in 6,193 fatalities.
“If such fatalities occur five times (in the next five years), then it will be about the same size as the National Stadium. It is definitely too high,” he said during the Police Day celebrations yesterday.
He also hoped that the new department would be able to enforce traffic laws more effectively.
The setting up of the new Traffic Department in the police force is one of the initiatives taken to address the serious issue of road accidents in the country, said Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Comm Datuk Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim.
He said the new standalone department, which was initially under his department, would be expanded to better handle the major task of policing traffic and promoting road safety.
“It is time that we take traffic offences and its consequences seriously and hopefully, this step will allow the police to focus on this area more,” he said in a recent interview.
Comm Muhammad Fuad said the number of accidents and deaths on Malaysian roads were some of the worst in the world and mainly due to the attitude of road users.
“We see it every day on our way to work with people beating red lights and driving on the emergency lanes.
“The problem is getting worse with fatalities increasing every year.
“There were 6,706 fatalities last year, and that’s an average of 18 deaths per day with most of the victims still in their prime,” he said.
Comm Muhammad Fuad said other initiatives being looked at were increasing the maximum compound for traffic offences, charging drivers without licences and the Kejara demerit point system.
“I think a stiffer penalty will deter road users from taking chances with their lives,” he said, adding that the last increase in compounds was in 1987.
He said the proposal to charge unlicensed drivers was due to many such drivers posing a threat to others.
“Last year, 315,119 unlicensed drivers were booked, an increase of 1,887 from the year before.
“With the Kejara system, we hope to improve the mindset of road users,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new department’s director Senior Asst Comm Mahamad Akhir Darus pledged to help in bringing down the number of road accidents and fatalities.
“We are restructuring and streamlining the processes and how we do things.
“There will be new units formed to better serve our function in helping to keep our roads safe,” he said.