Beware, Drivers! You Will Now Have To Go To Court If Caught Using Your Phone While Driving

It was previously a compoundable offence that could be settled by paying a fine.

Cover image via & New Straits Times

Under the Road Traffic Rules 1959 and the Road Transport Act 1987, using your phone while driving has always been illegal.

However, if caught, you will now have to make a court appearance.

On 8 August, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) released a statement on their Facebook affirming that phone usage in vehicles is considered a non-compoundable offence. 

Offences of this nature will require you to attend a court hearing. Overloading passengers in a vehicle and using the emergency lane without a valid reason are also examples of non-compoundable traffic offences.

Meanwhile, compoundable offences, such as making an illegal U-turn and stopping inside a yellow box junction, can be settled by paying a fee or saman.

As mentioned under Rule 17A, LN166/59 of the Road Traffic Rules, offenders can face a fine of RM1,000 or up to three months in jail

For second-time offenders, the law carries a fine of RM2,000, a jail sentence of up to six months, or both.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Infobae

Although the amendment has been enforced since 6 July, PDRM has noticed many Malaysians flouting it

In their statement, PDRM said, "Communities are aware that the usage of mobile phones while riding or driving vehicles has contributed to road accidents. Yet, many people continue to ignore this rule."

If you need to refer to navigational apps, use a phone mount instead of holding onto your device.

Image via RAM Mounts

In 2016, the government made using phones at a traffic light an offence after it was learnt that phone usage in vehicles was the biggest contributor to road accidents:

At the end of July, harsher penalties and punishments for reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs were introduced:

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