“Cross-hatchings” are oblique lines painted on roads and were created to replace the solid barriers that used to be built on roads to channel traffic into appropriate lanes. Vehicles, especially those going straight with no other vehicles ahead, used to crash into such barriers. To prevent such crashes and make traffic flow safer and smoother, the kerb-stones barriers were replaced with cross-hatchings. Thus, if the road is clear and it is safe to do so, vehicles can go over the hatchings and do not commit any traffic offence.
The Director General of the Road Transport Department (RTD) has confirmed there is no provision in the Road Transport Act or Rules that makes it an offence for anyone to drive over the cross- hatchings. The Attorney General’s office concurs with this.
But the Kuala Kubu Baru traffic police issued a summons (No. AH 928402) to a motorist driving South who drove across the cross-hatchings on a rural road at a T-junction to the right, i.e. at Km 73 of the Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh road (Federal Route 1, a few km South of Tanjong Malim). Another case of a similar summons issued at the same spot is reported in kltaxidriver.com dated 22 April 2012 “Tetap Di Saman Walau Tidak Melakukan Kesalahan”.
The summons was issued for “tidak ikut tanda di trafik line”, without stating the Rule breached.
Our own research did not disclose such a traffic offence. In March 2010, the Bukit Aman Traffic Division told us it had no answer to our enquiry whether it was an offence to drive over the cross-hatchings.
In June 2014 the same Bukit Aman Traffic Division told us that it is an offence under Sec. 79(2) of the Road Transport Act to drive over cross-hatchings. This section is about light-controlled pedestrian crossings and has nothing to do with cross-hatchings.
Recently the complainant’s vehicles (a motorcycle and a car) were found to have been blacklisted by the police so road tax could not be renewed. A print-out of the summons states “Tak mematuhi lorong yg betul” and states the rule breached as LN166/59 008(2). This rule reads: “At an intersection where the road is marked into 2 traffic lanes, the nearside lane shall be used only for vehicles turning left or travelling straight ahead, and the offside lane shall be used only for vehicles turning right”.
There is no such intersection at Km 73 of the KL-Ipoh road. The road here is single lane in either direction on a single carriageway with a very short overtaking lane on the left.
Is it not an abuse of power for the traffic police to summon a motorist for a non-existent offence?
The handwritten summons states “tidak ikut tanda di trafik line” and does not state the Rule breached. The summons print-out states “Tak mematuhi lorong yg betul” and states the rule breached as LN166/59 008(2). But there is no such intersection at this place, so how could an offence under this rule be committed at this place?
This matter was reported to the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC). Its finding was that the traffic policeman had carried out his duty diligently according to the law and had correctly issued a summons for a traffic offence under the Road Traffic Act and the Rules under it. The EAIC did not bother to even investigate whether driving over cross-hatchings is an offence in the first place. If not, as now confirmed by the RTD, then did the traffic policeman not abuse his authority?
What was the motive of the traffic policeman?
CAP calls on the Inspector General of Police:
1) to ensure that the traffic police are fully conversant with the Rules on road markings which are different from road signs and signals.
2) to ensure that the Traffic Rule breached is written on the summons before it is handed to the motorist who has been stopped by the police.
3) to investigate all summonses issued by the Kuala Kubu Baru traffic police for “crossing double line” or “tidak ikut tanda di trafik line” at Km 73 of the KL- Ipoh road.
4) to clear the blacklisting under summons No. AH 928402 and any other similar cases.
5) to take action against the traffic policeman for issuing a summons for a non-existent traffic offence.
The government must also take cognisance of the way the EAIC investigates complaints without going to the bottom of the issue. Its decision in this case will only encourage traffic policemen to issue traffic summonses for non-existent offences.
S.M MOHAMED IDRIS, JP
Consumers’ Association of Penang
Press Statement, 4 September 2014