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Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

New Indonesian Traffic Rules with New Stiffer Penalties Now Apply.

(4/5/2010) On April 1, 2010 a comprehensive new national traffic safety law (UU No. 22/2009) came into effect. A sampling of some of the rules to be enforced and the fines that can be imposed for violations include:

Missing technical and safety equipment (e.g. side mirror, lamps,) Rp. 250,000

Violation of posted road rules Rp. 500,000

Inability to present a valid driving license Rp. 500,000

Failure to hold a valid driving license Rp. 1,000,000

Not wearing a certified helmet while operating a motorcycle Rp. 250,000

Driving during daylight hours without lights illuminated Rp. 100,000

Failing to concentrate on driving by doing another activity (e.g. using hand phone) Rp. 750,000

Turning or changing lanes without using a turn signal Rp.250,000

A member of Commission V of the National House of Representatives (DPR), Abdul Hakim, complained to Bisnis.com that the government has done an inadequate job of socializing the rules, fines and possible jail sentences awaiting those who disobey the rules.

Citing examples of the lack of public knowledge of the new rules, Hakim pointed to the law requiring all passengers on a motorcycle to use a nationally certificated helmet and the penalty of Rp. 250,000 (US$27) or one month in jail for those violating this regulation.

The new traffic rules also provide for prison sentences of 1 year or fines of Rp. 3 million for people convicted of reckless driving. If reckless driving results in an accident, the fine level increases to Rp. 24 million and/or a prison term of 4-12 years.

Hakim called for an urgent and widespread socialization of the new traffic rules in order to prevent official abuse of the new rules and in order to encourage public compliance with the law.