There has been a recent discourse about the recent roll-out of the DPS(Demerit Point System). It is a policy enacted by the Bruneian government, on which it is aimed to elevate the general road safety of the country by implementing a strict regulatory procedures through its point based system. Much like the point you get for every dollar you shop in Tesco or Hua Ho, for every road law you break you get a compounding fine slap. At least that is how it works at  my current level of understanding. With its implementation many are wondering how effective it really is.

It is a topic brought up by a friend of mine, Ariffin Ahmad, and he mentioned its advantages namely 1) it would help lower the accident rates in the country 2) to make the roads safer from reckless drivers(we have so many of these people, mainly those near the borderlines) 3) Elimination of non-worthy road vehicles such as those cars with bald tires, neon lights(seriously it is not cool to have it here =.=), non-adjustable bright beams, and adding to his point huge truck vehicles carrying more tones than it can possibly handle 4) It is easier to identify causes of accidents with the installation of CCTVs.

The bad points he gave is something to ponder about:

1. The police do get commission from stopping speeding vehicles but they do however abuse this privilege by stopping vehicles even just 1 km/h above the speed limit which is ridiculous  There should be a speed limit to which DPS points could be awarded e.g. above 3-5 km/h the speed limit since our vehicle’s speed gauge isn’t really accurate compared to the radar / IR speed monitoring devices the police use.

2. There have been a lot of falsely accused drivers out there. This is quite amusing. As a driver speeds, the license plate of the car is taken down and a traffic summon is sent to the owner of the vehicle. So, if the vehicle used is a family car, then the owner (mom or dad) would be obtaining DPS points instead. This fact would be even worse if the car is being borrowed by a friend of yours and is caught. You will then be awarded with unnecessary points.

3. There should be speed traps set at specific times where it would be dangerous to speed e.g. rush hours or day time where speeding would be hazardous to drivers on the road. Speed traps set late at night would be useless since its not that dangerous to be speeding at 12 or 1am when the roads are empty. Unless the person is a reckless driver in which he/she would be liable for any mishaps. 

4. Enforcing police for traffic duty is quite costly and inefficient. Speed cameras like the ones on UK motorways would be more resourceful and efficient. Plus, times could be set at which the cameras are active and detailed pictures can be taken of not only the vehicle but also the driver. So, if a vehicle is caught speeding, then there is a picture which can be used to identify who is speeding.

5. Speed does not kill. There has been a study where drivers were put to a test on speeding and awareness and it was found that drivers who speed were more aware and careful than not speeding. This is due to the fact that our body releases adrenaline to our brain which makes us more active and aware compared to casual / leisure drivers who are calm as they do tend to be more distracted by staring out into the scenery rather than concentrating on driving but as I said, speeding would be much more safe when the roads are empty i.e. late night

There are other ways to lower down accidents in the country as well such as, having a much more strict driving tests and theories since the current tests are so easy that students could just take them for granted. Improve infrastructure of the roads. The roads in Brunei are quite poor with a lot of uneven paving which can cause a car to lose control especially on the highways. Structuring of roads should be greatly improved. A good example of why this should happen is the Gadong / Kiulap roundabout. Up till now no permanent solution has been implemented to prevent drivers who cross the solid line (first lane exit) as a short cut to avoid the queue. Well, one day hopefully changes will be made.

Co-Written with Ariffin Ahmad from University of Leichester, United Kingdom. Black Grey font words are written by him. See the original post here