The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police traffic division’s statement that listening to music while driving is a criminal act is an exaggerated interpretation of the law, experts say.
A criminal law expert from Trisakti University, Abdul Fickar Hadjar, said criminalizing the act would be an extreme measure as listening to music did not affect motorists’ concentration.
“Reciprocal acts like communicating via phone while driving can indeed disrupt someone’s concentration, but listening to music or the radio is another thing,” Abdul said as quoted by kompas.com.
Abdul further argued that listening to the radio was useful as it provided information to motorists.
Traffic division chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Budiyanto said recently that acts such as listening to music, watching television and smoking while driving could disrupt motorists’ concentration.
Meanwhile, Article 106 of Law No. 22/2009 on traffic and land transportation stipulates that motorist must drive with full concentration. Therefore, Budiyanto said, the acts, could be deemed as violations of the law, and violators could face three months in jail.
Abdul said the police should not haphazardly interpret the law.
Separately, a School of Law professor at the University of Indonesia, Topo Santoso, said the interpretation of a law should be followed by research and valid data.
“Broad interpretations can limit public freedom,” he said. (vny)