Imposing Strict Punishment for Driving Offences
Two weeks back, my friends and I witnessed a car accident in front of our very own eyes. The night was still as there were not many cars on the road. However, the silence was disrupted by a loud screeching noise. The flow of conversation came to a halt as we turned our heads in unison towards the source of the noise. At that exact moment, we saw a black car crashed into a lamp post. The front of the car was severely damaged and minutes later, the bleeding driver could be seen limping out of the car. What we have just witnessed serves as proof that road accidents are becoming more and more rampant with every passing day.
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Some suggest imposing strict punishments for driving offences as a mean to reduce road accidents. In most situations, this holds true because punishments such as heavy penalty, community service and a prison sentence are able to change an offender’s behavior. Moreover, it deters the public from making traffic offences. Heavy penalty should be imposed on those who defy the road rules. For example, those who fail to obey the speed limit on Malaysian roads and expressways can be fined up to RM300, depending on the difference between the speed limit and the driven speed.
A heavier penalty of RM500 should be imposed on the road offenders to deter them from committing the offence again. Besides that, a stricter punishment in the form of a heavier penalty will act as a deterrent to potential road offenders. This method has been proven to be rather successful as a statistics have shown that the number of road accidents have reduced by 39% when a heavier penalty was imposed. If this continues, nobody will dare to go at high speed. After all, money is what motivates or deters people from doing or not doing something.
Not only that, I believe that the community service is a good form of punishment especially for the younger offenders. Young being those who are aged between 17 to 35 years of age. In this form of punishment, offenders are forced to carry out between 40 to 300 hours of unpaid work as ‘Community Payback’ which includes cleaning public areas such as the community halls, playgrounds and schools. They are also made to wear uniforms while carrying out their duties. Undoubtedly, they would be embarrassed as people would take notice of them and more so if it were their very own friends.
They might even be mocked at or ridiculed by passers-by. However, the main aim of the community service is not to make a fool of these people but to bring about a change of attitude in them. By doing the community service, hopefully they are able to experience and appreciate the hardship that others face in maintaining the public areas even though the offence committed was not related to it. One way or another, this might just help them to be a better person. A prison sentence could also be seen as an effective method to reduce road accidents. However, this will take into account the severity of the road offence committed.
If it involves the lost of an innocent life then a prison sentence should be compulsory. For instance, the punishment of a two year long imprisonment to those who commit a road offence such as driving under the influence (DUI). If there happens to be a lost of a life due to that person’s irresponsible act, then the prison sentence should be extended to four years. This might seem rather cruel to some but these offenders should think of the consequences before they decide to go behind the wheels while under the influence of certain substances such as alcohol and drugs.
Life in prison would be a deterrent to the public in committing driving offences as it strips them of their freedom. Undeniably, the mere thought of losing one’s freedom is enough to send shivers down the spine. With that being said, we can conclude that most people will abide by the law if a sense of fear is instilled into them. Nevertheless, I am also of the opinion that other methods that are not punishment based could also reduce road accidents. For instance, tightening the rules on obtaining a driving license and holding campaigns on road safety in schools.
Some may argue that the subtler methods do not work well with today’s society but I think that we should look into the core of the matter to find out where the problem lies. By doing so only then we are able to decide on the best solutions to overcome this ever growing problem. The subtler methods are effective in its own ways as it helps to instill the right mentality into teenagers’ and children’s minds from a young age. In other words, the law enforcers, police and government should find the best solution to this problem and it should incorporate both the elements of the harsh punishments and also the subtler methods.