Sat, 01 Oct 1994

Only Rp 50,000 for hitting pedestrian

JAKARTA (JP): A panel of judges from the North Jakarta District Court, apparently unaware of the existing high traffic fines, has sentenced a water tank truck driver who hit a pedestrian to pay a fine of Rp 50,000 (US$23).

The court on Thursday found driver Sukarno bin Darmo Slamet, 36, guilty of hitting a woman who was crossing the street on Jl. Cakung in Cilincing area, North Jakarta, on May 19.

Presiding judge Yudo Soemarto said the accident was unavoidable because Sukarno was in a difficult position at the time of the accident.

The accident occurred as the speeding tank truck driven by Sukarno swerved to the left to avoid the vehicles entering the intersection from his right. As the tank truck entered the intersection the rear of his vehicle hit two cars already stopped at the red light and skidded and hit the pedestrian, identified as Tabena Sihombing.

The victim, who worked at a factory at the Nusantara bonded zone was thrown a few meters away, suffered concussion and a broken leg.

The victim, who was treated at the Tugu hospital in North Jakarta, not only had to pay Rp 750,000 for medical treatment but also lost her job because of the enforced one-month absence.

Suara Pembaruan reported yesterday that the judges had ignored standard procedures in the trial, saying that the victim was not present during the trial sessions.

Under the 1992 Traffic Law, a driver found guilty of hitting a pedestrian can be sentenced to a maximum of six years imprisonment or be ordered to pay a fine of Rp 6 million.

The police recently also increased traffic fines as part of a major plan aimed at reducing accidents and traffic violations.

Under the new fine scale, which has been endorsed by the police, the Provincial Prosecutor's Office and the Jakarta High Court, drivers of private cars and public buses can be fined between Rp 15,000 and Rp 50,000 compared to the present scale of Rp 10,000 to Rp 25,000 for traffic violations.

Jaywalkers and drivers ignoring traffic signs can be fined Rp 10,000 while motorists caught without a driving license can be fined between Rp 25,000 and Rp 150,000.(has/09)