Lorry driver protection racket: The issue needs to be nipped in the bud

EARLIER this week, it was reported that 32 officers from the Road and Transport Department (RTD) in five different states were nabbed for their alleged involvement with a lorry protection syndicate. This is a matter of grave concern that needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

The RTD officers were found to be feeding off a number of bribes from lorry drivers who were committing traffic offences. These include offences such as driving lorries that are no longer safe to be on the road or have overloading cargo.

Allegedly, the lorry drivers paid out bribes of between RM150 and RM3,000 to the personnel involved.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators involved in the operation codenamed ‘Ops Sukat’ have traced about RM1.64 mil in bribes paid out by the syndicate.

If anything, the arrests shines the spotlight on a more worrying issue, namely the movement of heavy vehicles on Malaysian roads and the danger they pose to other road users.

Statistically, Malaysia has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in Asia, and many of these involve heavy vehicles that are either overloaded or are no longer safe to be driven on the road. But what’s the problem with overloaded lorries?

When a lorry is overloaded with too much cargo, for example, it places a huge amount of strain on the axles and other mechanical components of the vehicle, making it more difficult to control.

When a lorry driver cannot properly control their truck, the odds of a serious accident occurring is greatly increased.

Moreover, the cargo of an overloaded lorry might not be properly secured. If it was transporting logs, rocks or scrap metal, what would happen if these items fall and seriously injure other motorists?

It is indeed frightening to imagine how many of this errant lorry drivers have benefitted from enforcement officers turning a blind eye on the vehicle’s un-roadworthiness.

Within the year that the corrupted RTD officers begun receiving the bribes from lorry drivers, who can say for sure if their action of turning a blind eye have not been the cause of accidents on the road? More importantly, how many lives have been lost due to their irresponsibility and greed?

Certain laws have been established to ensure lorries are as safe as possible when travelling on the road. So when lorry drivers do not heed the laws, they place themselves, and other innocent drivers and even pedestrians in danger.

As such, the authorities need to double down on their efforts to nab the offenders and weed out any other corrupted RTD officers who are involved in this matter. The safety and wellbeing of motorists and pedestrians may very well depend on this. – March 18, 2021

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