Traffic Enforcement Must Be To Guide, Not Trap Road Users

I FULLY agree with the views of Positive Malaysian in his letter "Warn drivers about hidden cameras" (The Star, Oct 12). He contended that traffic and warning signs, including cameras, should be used to reduce accidents and not for enforcement officers to "trap" errant motorists.

I have driven in many other countries and I particularly like driving in England where the road signs are adequate and strategically placed to provide all the necessary information for the benefit of motorists.

Furthermore, the traffic signage system there is friendlier than in Malaysia. If a speed limit is imposed on a road and a camera is installed along the way, adequate road signs are posted along the road to warn motorists not only of the speed limit, but also the camera ahead.

This is clearly in contrast to the system we have in Malaysia where cameras are hidden to catch or "trap" motorists for speeding. There are also other instances in Malaysia where traffic enforcement officers would be lurking around corners to "catch" errant motorists, particularly in areas where the traffic system has just been changed.

A good example is Jalan 222 in Petaling Jaya where recently traffic coming from Jalan 223 was no longer allowed entry. A makeshift no-entry barrier was first erected at the junction between the two roads.

Initially, when this new system was introduced, many motorists were caught unaware. The traffic enforcement officers, instead of stationing themselves at the closed junction to warn motorists and advise them of the change, were sometimes seen lurking a short distance away to stop and issue summonses.

Even today, though the new junction between Jalan 222 and Jalan 223 has been properly constructed, there is not a single road sign at all junctions leading or connecting to Jalan 223 to inform motorists that the latter is now a no-through road.

There are, however, only two no-through road signs along Jalan 223, one just after the entrance into Jalan 223 and the other near the end of this road. Therefore, an unaware motorist will only know that Jalan 223 is a no-through road when he sees the road sign after he has already entered this road.

To reduce the number of traffic offenders and road accidents, the relevant authorities should change their practice from "I caught you" to "I warn you" by installing more appropriate traffic signs and warnings.

At the same time, the enforcement officers should concentrate on preventing accidents. 2008