Maintenance Tips, News

Can We Use Phones While Driving?

In the digital age, mobile phones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, providing us with connectivity, information as well as entertainment on the go. However, the convenience of mobile phones also poses significant risks, particularly when used irresponsibly while driving.

*A study conducted by Abu Bakar and Liew (2015) on 627 drivers in the Klang Valley found that 43.4% of drivers use mobile phones while driving, 61.9% while stopping at traffic lights and 53.6% use mobile phones during traffic jams. The study also found that 81.5% were aware that using a mobile phone while driving was illegal, 86.7% agreed that using a mobile phone while driving could endanger themselves and others, 86.3% agreed that using a mobile phone while driving could increase tendency to get involved in road accidents. In total, 96% out of 605 respondents reported that they have never been involved in an accident due to using a mobile phone while driving. In total, only 4% of respondents claimed that they had been involved in road accidents caused by mobile phones while on the road.

On the 8th of August 2020, Polis DiRaja Malaysia (“PDRM”) released a statement on its Facebook page under the topic #SembangTraffik, declaring that, as of July 6, 2020, the use of mobile phones while driving falls under Rule 17A, LN166/59. This offense has been categorised as a non-compounding suit and requiring resolution through legal proceedings in court. If convicted, a fine of up to RM1,000 or imprisonment of not more than three months. If it is a second conviction, a fine of up to RM2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both. ​

In this article, we aim to understand Malaysia Traffic Law and minimising distraction of safe driving. Lets dive in!

Understand Malaysian Traffic Laws

  1. Hands-Free Device Mandate
    Under Rule 17A of the Road Traffic Rules 1959, it is an offence to use a phone while driving a vehicle unless it is with a hands-free kit or holder, such as Bluetooth earpieces or car phone mounts. This regulation is in place to minimise distractions and enhance overall road safety.
  2. Texting and Driving
    Texting while driving is a dangerous practice that diverts attention from the road. In Malaysia, the law explicitly prohibits the act of composing, reading or sending text messages while operating a vehicle.
  3. Social Media and Multimedia Apps
    The laws strictly prohibit drivers from using social media and multimedia apps while driving. Malaysian traffic laws recognize the potential dangers posed by these distractions and have established penalties for those caught using such apps behind the wheel. It is crucial for drivers to prioritise their focus on the road to avoid accidents and ensure the safety of all road users.
  4. Emergency Calls
    It is permissible to swipe and touch the screen of a phone that is mounted in a car with a holder. However, drivers should exercise caution even in emergency circumstances by pulling over to a safe location, if possible, before making or receiving calls.
  5. Penalties for Offences
    In 2020, PDRM declared that using phone while driving without hands-free kits or holder is no longer a compoundable offence. Offenders receiving summonses for this violation would be brought to court, confronting a fine of up to RM1,000 or imprisonment for up to three months. Repeat offenders face a doubled penalty.

Safety Tips for Responsible Mobile Phone Usage

  1. Plan Ahead
    Plan and set up navigation and music beforehand to reduce phone interaction while driving.
  2. Use Hands-Free Devices
    Invest in hands-free devices to facilitate communication without compromising safety. Bluetooth earpieces and phone mounts are readily available and can help you stay connected responsibly.
  3. Enable Driving Mode
    Most smartphones offer a driving mode that prevents alerts and notifications from disturbing you while driving. Enable this feature to enhance focus on the road.
  4. Educate Passengers:
    Passengers assist with phone tasks, such as answering calls, enabling the driver’s focused attention on the road.

In summary, mobile phone usage on the road is a serious concern that requires the attention and cooperation of all road users. By understanding Malaysian traffic laws regarding mobile phone usage, drivers can contribute to a safer and more secure road environment. Prioritising responsible behaviour behind the wheel ensures not only personal safety but also the wellbeing of fellow motorists and pedestrians. Let’s make the roads safer by keeping our focus where it belongs – on driving.

A healthier car, a safer journey. DAS us.

*Information derived from MOT website.

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