WHO DO WE HOLD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE APATHY AND ROAD CARNAGE IN MALAYSIA ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!
1. Malaysia is the third largest/highest as far as fatalities in road accidents in ASIA/ASEAN
2. We are allegedly behind Thailand and Vietnam.
3. Road accidents are preventable/predictable but yet where is the said intervention?
4. Malaysia is among the top 25 most dangerous countries for road users!
5. In 2016, Accidents were the 4th cause of death after heart disease, Pneumonia and Cerebrovascular disease
So fellow Malaysians who do we hold accountable for the road carnage we see and witness in Malaysia?
I asked these questions yesterday live on TV3 where I was interviewed by TV3 anchors!
Among the places where fingers can be pointed are at the alleged lack of proper law enforcement and this despite hundreds of thousands of traffic summonses issued each year and clear evidence that there is a large demography of drivers driving heavy vehicles, buses and other heavy vehicle, many overloaded on drugs!
The last time we made news again for the wrong reasons was when a study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found Malaysian roads are the 17th deadliest in the world!
But my contention is that study was flawed big time as it used outdated data of 2008 from the World Health Organization, where the said authors of the study found that road accidents caused 30 deaths for every 100,000 people in Malaysia’s population.
Basically it means that 6.0 per cent of all deaths in the country were caused by road accident fatalities.
If one decides to make a comparison of road accidents and fatalities across some regions, we may find that road accidents in Thailand caused 44 deaths per 100,000 of people, making it the second most deadly country for road accidents.
Namibia topped the list with 45 deaths per 100,000 of the population.
In comparison, coronary heart disease made up 17 per cent of total deaths in Malaysia, making it the number one killer in the country.
The other two main killers in Malaysia were cancer, which made up 15 per cent of total deaths and stroke at 9 per cent.
Despite that, the study showed that Malaysia has among the lowest overall fatality rates with 494 deaths per 100,000 people, and was placed 170th among the 193 countries surveyed.
This beckons a very serious question in a land where according to public and international perception among the many lawlessness are the lawlessness we see on the roads of Malaysia!
Are Malaysian road users taking responsibility for their own safety while driving as more than 80% of traffic accidents are caused by human error according to investigations and surveys done by the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (CASSA MALAYSIA).
Furthermore, the death of 65,850 people in road accidents between 2004 and 2013 had resulted in as much as RM78 billion being lost in economic contributions with an average of RM1.2 million each.
Now this begs a pertinent question!
Who do we hold accountable for the road carnage we see and witness in Malaysia?
Among the places where fingers can be pointed are at the alleged lack of proper law enforcement and this despite hundreds of thousands of traffic summonses issued each year?
I am certain that the stakeholders and among them the police and other relevant authorities are doing their part but that is certainly not enough!
Every road user and vehicle owner needs to abide by the law and ensure safety of him and that of passengers!
Of late we have also my boys and girls on motorbikes riding with a death wish as well!
Are they on drugs as well?
My call to test heavy vehicle drivers for substance abuse has yet to be responded.
Though the MMA leadership and medical doctors nationwide support that call!
Why MCA Minister?
If a vehicle driver’ drives left to right, right to left, they will be immediately picked up by traffic police.
But why are the motorbikes not picked up when they speed, move from right to left, squeeze between vehicles damaging cars?
Instead of blaming others, road users should take it upon themselves to drive safely and be more considerate of other road users and attentive of their surroundings.
Stakeholders who run and manage highways needs to also play their part as they have a contractual duty of care to ensure that the pay and use highways are free of all kinds and forms of dangers!
But this is not always the case as retreaded Tyre parts and other foreign bodies which includes stones and pebbles are on highways and pose a serious danger to users!
Then there we also have heavy vehicles and trans-border coaches which are always in the news after major crashes resulting in deaths!
Every year we have a litany of such cases and reruns and verbal diarrhea from the authorities promises action and draconian changes that never comes!
Soon Chinese New Year comes and just before it we already have a rising statistics of deaths and among them, bikers!
If some of our policymakers are still in comatose let me bring them to speed of the following statistics which should point to their incompetence!
July 1st 2016, two people were killed when an express bus rammed into a road divider at KM194.9 of the North-South Expressway near Bukit Merah, Taiping.
We then had six members of a family, including three young grandchildren, were killed in a road accident involving two lorries on the Gua Musang-Kota Baru trunk road.
There have been others cases over the years and you can get my sarcasm and drift!
22 August, 2013
An express bus with 53 occupants from 6 different countries rammed a divider while negotiating a steep slope, and plunged into a 60-metre ravine near Genting Highlands, en route to KL. A staggering thirty-seven people, mostly foreigners, died at the scene – making the accident the deadliest road mishap in Malaysian history. An investigation later revealed that the bus, which had exceeded its maximum capacity of 44 passengers, had been placed on a blacklist by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) well in advance of its fatal journey.
20 December, 2010
A double-decker tour bus packed with Thai holidaymakers returning to KL from Cameron Highlands lost control while negotiating a sharp bend, smashed violently into a divider and went airborne, somersaulted and crashed upside-down in a ditch. The impact was so great that the roof was sheared off, and some passengers were flung through the air, landing many metres away. Of the 37 passengers on board, only 10 survived with severe injuries. Road safety experts later questioned the wisdom behind using a double-decker bus for steep, uphill travel, which they judged highly unsuitable.
13 August, 2007
A 42-seater coach en route from Melaka to Butterworth crashed through a steel barrier while cruising downhill near Bukit Gantang, Perak, and nosedived into a 6-metre ravine. Twenty two of the bus’ occupants (some of whom were catapulted from the vehicle) were killed, while all surviving passengers were severely injured – with the notable exception of a 24 year-old Nepali man, who walked away with barely a scratch. A police investigation later revealed that the deceased bus driver had had 13 summonses and two warrants of arrest for traffic offences, while his employer, the bus operator, had previously been slapped with 19 summonses.
10 October, 2007
An express bus heading north on the North-South Expressway near the Simpang Ampat toll plaza struck the rear of a car, swerved into the median guardrail, crashed through to the opposite lane, and ploughed into an oncoming bus, two cars, a van and a motorcycle. Thirteen people from all vehicles involved were killed, and 45 were injured, many seriously.
23 November, 2003
Two express buses collided along Jalan Lipis-Merapoh, near the Pahang-Kelantan border, killing 14 people.
12 April 2001
The brakes of a tour bus failed as it cruised along Jalan Baling-Pengkalan Hulu in Kedah, causing the coach to career off the road and crash into a ditch. Twelve women and 1 young boy were killed, while many others were gravely injured.
July 16, 1996
A chartered bus filled with vacationing factory workers and their families lost control while descending Genting Highlands and plummeted headlong down a 120 metre-deep gully. Seventeen passengers – including 6 children – were killed, while 15 others were seriously injured.
The notorious Karak highway was the scene of one of the grisliest road accidents in Malaysian history. A multiple-vehicle pile-up occurred when a fast-moving passenger bus collided with a tanker lorry, 6 cars, 2 taxis, a truck and a number of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) riot police vehicles. Seventeen people, including 11 FRU personnel, were killed, and many more injured. Thousands of vehicles heading to and from KL were tangled in a resulting jam of epic proportions which lasted many hours.
In December 2021, just before those destructive floods, there was also that horror crash in Selangor, involving a heavy vehicle, with 10 fatalities, 8 of them children, least we forget!
Will change come in 2022?
I think you know the answer to that just as I!