Datuk Dr John Lau

KUCHING: The Sarawak Community Policing Association (SCPA) has called on the federal government to implement ignition interlock devices, believing this would be a much better way to control drunk driving compared to banning the sale and production of alcohol in the country.

Its chairman Datuk Dr John Lau Pang Heng explained that when this device was installed in cars, it measures the alcohol level in the driver’s breath.

“Interlocks keep the car from starting if the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) above a certain level, usually 80mg in Malaysia.

“Ignition interlocks can be used for people convicted of drunk driving and are highly effective at preventing repeat offences while installed in some overseas countries,” he said in a statement today.

Lau was referring to Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS)’s call to suspend all production, sales, and businesses of alcoholic beverages until new measures could be implemented to prevent drunk driving.

According to Lau, in Malaysia in 2018, there were only 191 drivers and motorcyclists found positive for driving and riding under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, resulting in 54 deaths.

“Car drivers topped the chart for DUI-related crashes at 74, followed by bikers (67), lorry drivers (21), four-wheel drive drivers (nine), lorry trailer drivers (five), express bus drivers (three), workers bus drivers (three), taxi drivers (three), van drivers (three), cyclist (one), a stage bus driver, and one tour bus driver,” he said.

He said that in 2017, there were 58 deaths or 0.86 per cent out of overall road casualties. A total of 212 drivers/bikers involved in road mayhem tested positive with alcohol.

Lau reported that in Sarawak, on average, there were about 100 cases per year of drivers under the influence of alcohol.