The director-general of the Malta Insurance Association has insisted that there should be no exceptions from the penalty points system recently introduced for all drivers.

His reaction, in an opinion piece in Times of Malta, followed calls for arrangements to benefit categories such as deliverymen. 

"Measures aimed at enhancing road safety and discipline on our roads must surely rise above the needs of the business community and any commercial activity," Adrian Galea wrote.

READ: Driving penalty point system 'can cost people their livelihoods'

"Driving for a living should, if anything, prove that one is experienced enough to set the right example. One could also argue that, stronger penalties should be applied in the case of experienced drivers who blatantly abuse of the rules. Those of us who drive abroad know all too well that irrespective of the vehicle driven, rules need to be observed and might is definitely not right.

"If we start introducing exceptions as to who loses points and who does not, or discriminating between different types of drivers, we risk making a complete mockery of the rules we introduce. Like any other system, the points system may not be perfect, but solutions do exist that can improve it. It is certainly a step in the right direction and above all, proves that once there is a commitment, results will be attained."

Dashboard cameras

Mr Galea said the increased use of dashboard cameras (dashcams) can also contribute to combating road abuse. A good example of this was the recent case which ended up with the apprehension of a truck driver who was captured on camera speeding recklessly.

"Our laws and regulations may therefore need to be carefully reviewed so that dashcam and bodycam images can be used as evidence in court, while always respecting privacy rules," he insisted.  

Drink-driving

Mr Galea said many were surprised that the police reported that 1,800 had been stopped in road blocks during New Year’s Eve, and yet not one driver was found to be over the alcohol limit.

It would have been better, he said, had the police also reported how many were actually subjected to a breathalyser test. 

The Malta Insurance Association, he added, continued to advocate the importance of applying breathalyser tests to all motorists involved in a serious traffic accident. It also favoured an approach taken by Ireland where random breathalyzer tests may be conducted (by the policing authorities) at specific checkpoints (and not in the middle of the road) without the need for a reasonable suspicion that alcohol may have been consumed. 

Mr Galea also commented on the practice which sees drivers slowing down as they approach a speed camera only to pick up speed again a short while later. 

"Perhaps the time has come for the use of mobile speed cameras or systems that measure the average speed of a vehicle in a particular stretch of road. For enforcement to become effective, there needs to be a proper deterrent in place and responsible drivers can also do their part to deter abusive behaviour," he said.

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