What is the Drink Driving Limit in Malaysia?
We previously posted on the Potential Amendments to Drunk Driving Regulations in Malaysia back in July 2020. However, unknown to many Malaysian drivers, the potential amendments were approved and the Road Transport Act (Amendment) 2020 came in to force in October 2020!
Now that MCO / CMCO is relaxing and coming to an end in many states, we're slowly returning to the 'new norm' and going out drinking, you should be more aware of the new drink driving rules and (gulp) penalties.
Here are the important changes all Malaysian drivers need to know:
The new drink driving limit in Malaysia is now 50mg (BAC)
Based on amendments to Section 45(g), the prescribed limits for alcohol content will be changed to:
- 22mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath (previously 35mcg)
- 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood (previously 80mg), and
- 67mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine (previously 107mg)
Transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that these were so that we would be in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
If you own one of our breathalyzers, the number you need to take note of is 0.050 (our breathayzers read in %BAC units - 0.050%BAC is the equivalent of 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood).
Therefore, when blowing into our device, you should register BELOW 0.05 (e.g. 0.04 and under will be considered below the drink driving limit). However we do not encourage driving if you have had alcohol. The safest thing to do if you've consumed any alcohol is to call a Grabcar to go home.
You could get fined, lose your licence and go to jail for refusing to cooperate with police
If you do get stopped by the police and are asked to take a alcohol breath test or drug test, do cooperate so you don't face penalties!
If you refuse to comply to police instructions, you could lose your licence, face fines up to RM30,000 and jail time up to 5 years.
We refer to amendments to Section 45(b) and 45(c) on breath test and specimen analysis respectively, for those suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs but refuse to cooperate with the authorities when asked to provide relevant samples for testing.
With the new amendments, first time offenders can be fined between RM10,000 to RM30,000, imprisoned up to 2 years, and face licence disqualification of at least 2 years. Repeat offenders would face fines of up to RM50,000, imprisonment up to 5 years and licence disqualification of at least 5 years.
Those found drink driving & driving under the influence of drugs will face harsher penalties
What happens if you get caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Malaysia?
Even if you don’t get into an accident, driving under the influence could still land you in some serious trouble.
Under amendments to Section 45(a) which covers those in charge of a vehicle with an alcohol content above the prescribed limit, first-time offenders will be jailed up to 2 years, fined RM10,000 to RM30,000 and face licence disqualification of 2 years or more.
Repeat offenders will be sent to jail for up to 5 years, fined between RM20,000 and RM50,000 and licence disqualification of at least 5 years.
Imprisonment up to 20 years for causing injury or death while driving under the influence
Previously, the maximum jail time for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent of causing death was 10 years, and the maximum fine was RM20,000.
With the new amendments, this has been increased to a fine of between RM50,000 to RM100,000 and/or a maximum of 15 years in jail for the first offence. For a subsequent offence, the jail sentence will be between 15 to 20 years and the maximum fine up to RM150,000.
Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs will also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a minimum of 10 years! Repeat offenders will not be able to hold a licence for 20 years.
The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent of causing injury (without death) have also been increased.
Those charged under this offence will face a fine anywhere from RM30,000 to RM50,000 and/or a 7 - 10 years jail term, with a subsequent offence carrying a heftier RM50,000 to RM100,000 fine and a 10 - 15 year jail term. Offenders will also be disqualified from holding a licence for at least 7 years for first time offenders, or 10 years for repeat offenders.
Lose your licence or get fined up to RM20,000 for reckless, inconsiderate and careless driving
Apart from alcohol- and drug-related driving offences, the amendments also introduced heftier penalties for reckless and careless driving.
Under Section 42 of the Act, the penalties for driving recklessly and dangerously are mostly the same, except now, first-time offenders will be disqualified from holding a driving licence for at least 5 years (previously minimum 2 years).
As for careless and inconsiderate driving offences listed under Section 43, the minimum fines for these have been increased from RM4,000 to RM5,000 for the first offence and to RM10,000 for subsequent offences.
Please Drive Responsibly
With the heavier fines, longer jail times and licence disqualification, it's now more important than ever to think before you decide to drive. Even a little bit of alcohol can affect your ability to drive!
What's more, you could still be over the legal limit and end up drink driving the morning after a night of drinking. Remember, alcohol takes time to exit your body and this depends on a ton of factors. Therefore, don't take the risk even when it's the next day. Always test yourself with a breathalyzer before you get behind the wheel.
Additionally, it's harder to tell if you're still under the influence if you had some recreational substances over the weekend. While the physical and mental effects of recreational drugs may dissipate after a few hours, trace amounts of drugs can still remain in your system for a few hours or days, depending on the type of drug and the amount you ingested. You may feel fine and sober, but a drug test may say otherwise.
If you're unsure of the drug detection times of the substances you took, and want to be safe, use drug testing kits to check yourself before you decide to drive or go to work.
Refer to the complete Malaysia Road Transport Act 1987 online and actual 2020 Amendments here.
New Straits Times, "Amended Road Transport Act with heavier penalties to come into force on Friday"
PaulTan.org, "Road Transport Act amendments detailed – increased fines and longer jail terms, not just for drink-driving"
Featured Image: Photo by Darya Jumelya on Unsplash
Infovisuals from Paultan.org