A National Road Safety Plan should be formulated to reduce the
number of accidents, injuries and deaths on Malaysian roads
by John Chung
The tragic bus collision at the Kuala Lipis-Merapoh trunk road
which claimed 14 lives and left scores of other passengers wounded had
focused public attention on the serious need to tackle the growing problem
of careless driving and reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths
on Malaysian roads.
Despite various road safety campaigns carried out by the authorities to
create awareness of driving safely, road accidents resulting in fatalities
are still on the rise instead of declining, raising the question whether the
campaigns carried out thus far have been effective.
Any successful road safety campaign must address the root causes of road
accidents and aim at changing the driving behaviour of motorists. It must be
continually evaluated to assess its influence on people's attitudes to road
safety, their behaviour on the roads and, ultimately, its effectiveness in
helping to bring down the numbers of deaths and injuries.
The various causes of road accidents must be addressed since they are many,
ranging from drink-driving, speeding, not wearing safety belts, talking on
the handphone while driving to even simple driving errors, such as not
giving way, not stopping and not keeping to the left.
Undeniably, road safety campaigns are only part of the solution. To fully
deal with the problem, a national road safety plan which is multi-pronged
should be formulated by the government to demonstrate its seriousness to
deal with the situation. Such a plan should incorporate stiffer penalties,
increased law enforcement as well as awareness campaigns, supported by hard
hitting and high profile advertisements targeted at drivers of various
age-groups and aimed at educating and improving their driving attitude.
* John Chung,
DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary