Automating traffic and emission regulations for government income

Automating traffic and emission regulations for government income

By Hafidz Baharom

One section of revenue that the government constantly underestimates would actually come from law enforcement, especially in Malaysia. We’ve all seen the fact that our roads are constantly filled with people who use emergency lanes, run a red light, and even speed in school and residential zones.

Thus, if there was one area that could be automated and bring huge revenue to government, it would be the enforcing of traffic laws by automation. Of course, this idea is not exactly new in its implementation. We have had a small automated enforcement system (AES) that was initially mired in controversy due to the government allowing a private company to enforce the law.

Thus, all it takes is to restructure the system itself – all summonses would be issued by the police (PDRM), funding and maintenance contracts will be handled by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Roadworks Department (JKR).

At the same time, JPJ would also be installing emissions cameras on top of the AES traffic cameras, which would monitor the exhaust fumes of vehicles for further enforcement.

Thus, traffic laws and emissions would be monitored and summonses can be issued by the relevant authorities, while maintenance contracts can be issued or done in-house, depending on whether we want to enlarge the civil service with JPJ hiring pit crews to maintain cameras, or contract it out.

Either way, a simple intelligent system which allows the authorities to have final say over a summons would also require a central system both in the PDRM Traffic division and JPJ law enforcement division to decide whether or not to issue a summons.

The system, if placed properly, should also issue a “red alert situation” if the same vehicle is seen speeding through two or three cameras in sequence, at which time a police or JPJ enforcement vehicle should be sent out to pull the vehicle over.

This does a few things – first, it would get everyone to obey the laws when it comes to speeding for everyone’s safety. Second – it would mean that those often speeding such as logistics companies and interstate buses will need to up their capacity rather than burden their drivers.

And third, it would mean hiring more people to drive logistics, public transport, and also allow the JPJ an PDRM free range to do other duties rather than man a roadblock for traffic offences.

Will this make driving a hassle? Depends – if you’re used to properly obeying the law, it should be no issue. But if not, then it is time to perhaps choose a different mode of transport.

At the same time, having emissions cameras enforcing emissions standards go back to dealing with the basis of traffic accidents – which is poor maintenance. Thus, construction companies, tour companies, even manufacturing companies with their buses must make sure to maintain their vehicles.

Doing so would also allow companies to reconsider their contracts and assets in order to be more environmentally friendly. At the same time, families with older vehicles would also need to consider maintenance, buying a new car, e-hailing or even depending on public transport.

In all these scenarios, it is necessary to enforce the law further – if a car’s summonses are not paid, and an arrest warrant is issued, it would be great. But why not just lock down the car?

However, another way to deal with non-payment of summonses is to simply find the car and lock it down, leaving the owner a notice to go to the nearest police department to settle their summonses or pay online.

In fact, there should be a cadre of traffic police in parliament every time it is in session, just to lock down any cars of the MPs right in front of the press for not paying their summonses.

Of course, we could go further with the idea of technology in traffic law enforcement, particularly with RFID technology. Making RFID as part of a car’s road tax, for example, and coupling the AES system with readers, would allow yet another easy way of enforcing road tax renewals without the hassle of a roadblock.

All you need to do is to have data of the expiration, activate the reader and have enforcers send out a summons without having to block the road and take people out of their cars. If the car appears still on the road after three times, send JPJ or PDRM to the house and lock down the car.

Or better yet, if JPJ and the PDRM want to do it in real time when the AES network is all in place, have them chase down the car and lock it where it is parked.

My objective in wanting to do this particularly in the KL and Selangor area is simple – there’s no excuse for not paying summonses these days since it is all done online. At the same time, there is no excuse in not renewing road taxes because, again, you can do it online.

Thus, enforcing these laws will generate revenue for the government, and will also make people think that perhaps it is worth too much effort and it is best to just rely on public transport – which will also lessen the burden on the government which subsidises it.

At the same time, with the emissions law enforcement, it puts the burden back on the businesses and owners of vehicles, rather than the general public which suffers from the polluted air, which will then lessen dependency on subsidised healthcare.

So it saves money for the government, increases income for the government, and allows government to either hire more people or issue out more contracts which will subsequently lead to job creation.

I think that helps a few issues altogether.

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