Earlier on we reported that the Road Transport Department ( JPJ ) will launch an operation in early October to crack down the usage of both strobe lights and illegal number plates. According to the Star, the first phrase of this enforcement will allow JPJ officers to issue warnings, reminders and educating road users the correct specifications for number plates. Drivers who fail to comply with the new regulation in November will be fined RM300.
Apparently JPJ has briefed all relevant authorities on regards of this issue; hence, the general public may not know on how illegal “strobe lights” and “number plates” were defined. A visit on both its website and social media so far reveals nothing, therefore we’ll anticipate many Malaysians will be caught off guard by JPJ on October onwards, although JPJ mentioned no summons will be issued during the first month.
With that, AF looks into this issue to see what does it mean to Malaysian motorist.
Strobe lights are known as a device that produces regular flashes of light, with light source came from xenon flash lamp, or flash tube. Usually used by law enforcement and emergency service vehicles, strobe lights found its way towards the end user market, allowing some petrolheads to fitting in such lights merely for cosmetic reasons. The video below is a clear example of how strobe lights were used in aftermarket car modification.
A check in the Malaysian market revealed strobe lights can be purchased on Mudah and at the vast majority of car-accessory shops around the country, at an affordable price. That alone provides accessibility to Malaysians to purchase such modification that leads to an increasing number of private cars fitted with such fancy blings.
However, the wrong usage of strobe lights not only irritates road users, but the flashes of light it produces can mean harm to other road users. At worse, it could confuse road users as vehicles used in emergency services (ambulance, police cars, firetruck) does have strobe light equipped. That would explain why JPJ needs to put an end on this, as similarly you will be in trouble if you placed a police siren on top of your car.
A check at the JPJ’s website reveals three main criteria for number plate ruling.
1. White alphabets and numbers, embossed or glued on a black plate.
2. White alphabets and numbers, embossed or glued on a red plate for vehicles belonging to embassies, the UN and the International Natural Rubber Association.
3. Black alphabets and numbers, embossed or glued on a white plate for taxicabs and hired cars.
By looking at that we are confident the majority of vehicle number plates in Malaysia are in-line with JPJ’s regulations. Furthermore, customizing number plates in this country is limited since it is restricted unlike in overseas. However, there are creative Malaysians who explored creative ways to display number plates on their rides by having customized number plate holders. A check on the Internet revealed there’s a booming market for customized number plate holders in Malaysia.
Perhaps the most common customized number plate holders are number plates with car marques or aftermarket brands underneath the car registration numbers, as shown above. It works similarly like customized emblems typically seen on the boot.
Another popular choice is the European vehicle registration plate, with the Euro logo beside the number plates. Originally used to display the country of registration of a vehicle in Europe, some creative folks here added such “European” flair into their number plates.
Both these aforementioned custom number plate holders are pretty popular to petrolheads as they are usually priced more or less at RM100. However, we don’t not see in what ways customized number plates will cause any harm to road users, apart of becoming an eye sore to some perhaps. Afterall, it doesn’t make any sense to see a Perodua Myvi with EU numberplates on the streets of Ampang.
In hindsight, JPJ’s action on cracking down is done for the safety of Malaysian road users. While we can understand the possible ban of strobe lights, we couldn’t digest on why customized number plates must be stopped if it regards to safety.
Actually we hoped that JPJ should work closely with other government bodies, namely the Road Works Department (JKR), Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and our Police (PDRM) with only one aim – reducing traffic accidents and fatalities in Malaysia. Our country’s road fatalities are sadly among the highest in this region, and this is something JPJ should look into apart of cracking down strobe lights or illegal number plates.
Instead of fining vehicles fitted with the items we discussed here, JPJ can work with JKR by identifying potholes to be repaired, and enforcement of drivers with co-operation from SPAD & the police, hoping such actions will allow more Malaysians return safety to their homes each night; something 6,915 souls from 2013 would want to, if they could.
Also, we think a month’s time might not be sufficient to educate millions of Malaysia road users, and we would expect many Malaysian motorists will be fined on November onwards. Prevention is better than cure, hence, take our word by halting such purchase of such items and wait for JPJ’s clarification in October. One’s thing for sure we at AF will update if there are any new developments.
[Source: Mudah, JPJ, The Star]