Demerit point system trial run in April


THE Ministry of Communications is scheduled to fully run its Demerit Point System (DPS) in mid 2013 following the feedback and evaluations from its pilot project that will commence next month.

The system was established to assist the relevant authorities in identifying motorists who cause high risks to other road users in the Sultanate as well as those who frequently disregard the safety and rules of roads which often lead to accidents.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Utama Hj Mohd Taha said that the system was hoped to not be seen as a burden for motorists but more of a disciplinary action through a more constructive enforcement, where drivers will be informed and aware of their offenses on the road.

"We are taking steps, apart from our continuous campaign, that can improve the behaviour of drivers. We are not there to penalise 100 per cent," he said.

He said the system would help encourage the public to instil good driving practices and habits such as wearing safety belts, use of signal lights and others.

The DPS will be introduced through three main phases for its trial run where the first will involve the use of a Personal digital assistant (PDA) by the relevant agencies such as the Royal Brunei traffic police and the Land Transport Department (LTD) in inputing the number of offenses in accordance with the categorised points system. The points will automatically record the data in the mode demerit point within the LTD's system.

The offenses have been categorised into eight main segments with an allocated number of points where the more severe offense grants more points. The points vary from three, four, six, eight, nine, twelve, eighteen and to finally twenty-four being the highest which ranges from minor to major offenses respectively.

According to Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin, phase one will be the ministry's opportunity to implement additional changes, such as more modules and elements into the LTD system including notification modules, accurate data integrity and business process that runs smoothly, hardware, an informative website for DPS and others.

Phase two of the pilot project is expected to be introduced in either October or November this year which will involve the installation and trials of hardware such as fixed speed cameras and traffic light cameras situated at various locations.

This will be carried out collaboratively with the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) and the LTD in ensuring the system and data are in order before proceeding with Phase three which will be the project's fully deployment throughout the Sultanate.

Drivers will additionally be categorised under 'Under Probation' and 'Qualified Driver'.

Under Probation is specifically for new drivers where if they accumulate a total 13 demerit points within a span of 12 months, it will lead to the immediate cancellation of their driving license for a year before having to undergo the training and driving tests once again.

Meanwhile, other drivers classified as 'qualified drivers' are given the condition that if they reach a total of 24 demerit points within 24 months, their dirvers license will be suspended for three months.

He added that the first suspension also entitles drivers to approach the authorities in stating their reason to committing such offenses. Given the plausibility of the driver's plea, the authorities may waiver and consider the offenses.

However, if the driver accumulates another 12 points within 12 months, this will lead to their second suspension which grants six months. The third and final punishment for conducting the same amount of offenses and time would result in the revocation of the driver's licenses for a year before having to undergo training and driving tests as well.

Drivers who have not commited any offences within 12 months of their last date of offence will have a reset in their record in the system. This also applies to those who have commited offences within 24 months.

When asked whether the DPS will apply to foreign drivers, the permanent secretary replied that it will given that they have a Bruneian license and fall under the category of Qualified Drivers. Non-Bruneian license from across the border such as Miri will however instead be compounded if found guilty of road offences.

Prior to the implementation of this initiative, traffic police and the LTD as well as other related agencies will undertake an intensive course covering the details of the system later this month. Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin added that they invited a specialist from Singapore to deliver a talk on the topic as well.

As for public awareness, the ministry will be conducting several roadshows and campaigns starting with the Brunei-Muara District on March 24.

The Brunei Times

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