Friday, September 14, 2012

Three-in-One Jockeys and Legal Avoidance

Someone said on Twitter that corruption will never be effectively banished if people are still violating traffic regulations, including the three-in-one rule by using the jockeys service.

Three-in-one policy requires vehicles to have at least three passengers on busy roads at peak hours. The jockeys are hitchhikers who are paid to ride in a car when passing the main roads.

I won't discuss whether such rule is valid under the current hierarchy of laws, but or the sake of this discussion, let's just assume the three-in-one rule is legally valid and binding. 

What I mainly disagree with the above statement is that using the service of jockeys is a violation of law that will somehow induce the people to corrupt - using a logic that if you can't be trusted for small matters, you can't be trusted for huge and important matters.

First of all, the rule only says that people who want to travel within the restricted roads must have at least 3 passengers inside their car. It doesn't stipulate that the people in the car must come from specific place or go to specific directions. Nor does the rule say that only certain type of people who really intend to use the car for traveling purposes might be considered as a legitimate passenger.

Having such condition would be an enforcement nightmare as finding the proof of violation and checking the overall background of all passengers would be very difficult, if not impossible. Not to mention the vagueness of the rule itself with respect to conditions for being considered a passenger.

Nevertheless, some people still think that the three-in-one rule is enforced in order to reduce the traffic jam, and using the service of jockeys will defeat such purpose. In other words, the use of three-in-one jockeys is a form of legal avoidance and should actually be prohibited.

The concept of legal avoidance is indeed confusing. On the one hand, it seems that you already comply with the prevailing laws. But on the other hand, you are deemed using the law to escape the consequences of your action which may violate the law's purpose or essence. Thus, your action will be deemed invalid.

To be honest, I refuse to admit the existence of legal avoidance concept. It is either you comply with the law or you violate the law. If there is no strict rule saying that you are violating the law, what would be the basis for some people to come and say that you are violating the law when you are still complying with the law? That would be absurd.

To follow the logic of people who support the existence of legal avoidance, take the three-in-one rule as an example. Bringing the jockeys in your car will let you satisfy the three-in-one rule. But because taking such jockeys somehow defeat the purpose of three-in-one rule, i.e. reducing traffic jam, you are already violating the law. The problem is, says who?

In any way, despite your choice of action, the three-in-one rule will most likely reduce the traffic all the time. Why? Because it creates additional costs for drivers to use the road during the three-in-one period. Either you take two more of your friends/colleagues or you pay for the service of jockeys.

The first type requires the costs of maintaining friendship, or maybe time, because you don't always have the same schedule with your friends. The second type requires the costs of paying jockeys or reduced level of security - after all, you are taking strangers into your car.

Thus, you can consider three-in-one rule as another form of tax or levy for the sole purpose of giving less incentives for people to travel within the three-in-one periods. If that's the case, then using jockey is not even a legal avoidance - assuming such concept exist - because you are still complying with the so called purpose of the rule, albeit in a different form.

This kind of act is completely different from mere traffic violation, such as trespassing the traffic lights. There is no doubt that such act is a violation because it directly breaches the rule. Under our criminal law principles, an act of criminal will always be considered as a criminal unless the defendant has a valid excuse - such as in case of force majeure or self defense.

Hopefully, you can see the difference. The key would always be whether there is a direct violation of a rule or not.

Next time, I would like to discuss whether there is a correlation between violating small rules with one's tendency to violate bigger rules, including corruption. Stay tuned.       


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