Why outsourced road traffic enforcement is not the way to go

Posted on October 1, 2018

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many-colours-one-dreamclamp in front of watsons

This is a sequel to my earlier post.

Roads are meant to facilitate movement to transport people and things from one point to another.

I suggest that traffic rules are in place to make such transportation safe for all, and to keep the flow of traffic smooth and as unimpeded as possible.

This statement of objective of the Madison Police Department might help to better make my point.

The traffic enforcement objective of the Madison Police Department (MPD) is to reduce traffic crashes and injuries and to facilitate the safe and expeditious flow of vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic through VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE (my emphasis) with traffic regulations

In densely populated areas, particularly in busy cities, and in commercial areas, laws are usually in place with regard to the parking of motor vehicles.

Most times, the provision of parking bays will prove to be woefully inadequate, measured against the number of vehicles that will flow in and out of those areas, particularly during business hours.

I suggest that the enforcement of laws relating to parking of vehicles, too, must be premised on the same consideration, that is, safety and to prevent interference with the flow of traffic.

I suggest that in areas where the number of parking bays is known to be woefully inadequate, due consideration must be given this, and to note that most road users are by far and large law-abiding and who simply want to get on with their “business at hand” and to “move on”, without being a nuisance to others.

I said most road users, I did not say all.

When I was in London from 1984 to 1988, I first lived in busy areas, off Oxford Street, then moved to Shepherds Bush, before finally moving to the outskirt area in Hounslow.

As the public transport system there was relatively efficient, most car owners usually took their cars out on the weekend, to do their grocery shopping, amongst others.

I have personally witnessed the following happen when an elderly lady double-parked.

Traffic warden : Good morning, ma’am. Are you going to be long?

Elderly lady : No, love. Just off to the butchers. Won’t be 5 minutes.

Traffic warden : Please be quick about it then.

Elderly woman : Thanks, love.

In my view, this is traffic enforcement at its best.

I suggest that as and when parking in breach of the traffic rules is met with a summons or any other form of punitive action, the object must be to deter and to educate road users.

Revenue cannot and must never be a motivation for the punishment of illegal parking.

Outsourcing of the enforcement of parking law, through the issuance of summonses and other such like, to private companies, makes profit the motivation.

I cannot speak of other areas, but in the Taman Desa / Taman Danau Desa area, enforcement is not only done with profit and revenue the paramount consideration of the enforcement company, but it is also done illegally.

Most times, when enforcement officers come upon a vehicle illegally parked, they would issue a summons, and also clamp the wheel.

If the owner now wants the vehicle unclamped, he is required to pay RM100.

RM50 for the removal of the clamp.

The other RM50 to compound the summons.

Now, if you inform the officer that you wish to dispute the summons and court and as such you do not wish to compound the summons, you will be informed that it is a package deal.

In other words, you must also pay to compound the summons.

I suggest that this is illegal, as no magistrate or judge could force anyone to compound a summons if they wished to challenge it in court.

Enforcement companies are in effect, coercing car owners to compound the summons, if they want their vehicle unclamped.

Yet, DBKL, through its outsourced traffic enforcement, is doing this.

I suggest that by this, DBKL is breaking the law.

This must stop.

FT minister, how say you?