Miros statistics say human error causes 80% of traffic accidents

PETALING JAYA: Road users need to start taking responsibility for their own safety while driving as more than 80% of traffic accidents are caused by human error according to statistics by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).

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.

Road Safety Department (JKJR) director general Datuk Tam Weng Wah said while some may blame for lack of proper law enforcement, the hundreds of thousands of traffic summonses issued each year begs to differ.

"The police and other relevant authorities are doing their part and its the responsibility every vehicle owner to abide the law and ensure safety of himself and that of passengers," Tam said.

Instead of blaming others, he said, road users should take it upon themselves to drive safely and be more considerate of other road users.

He also stressed that most traffic collisions can be avoided if road users are more attentive of their surroundings.

"People need to be more proactive when driving and not assume everything is fine. Don't assume that the road is clear when you're driving fast in the middle of the night, then you see a piece of a broken tyre and swerve, not realising another vehicle is near you and cannot stop in time before causing an accident," Tam told theSun.

He said accidents are avoidable if people were more careful on road, including them not using mobile phones while driving, which is extremely dangerous.

"This is an emerging trend and it is extremely dangerous, especially among the younger generations; they sms, whatsapp, or even take selfies while driving, this must be avoided at all cost," he added.

Citing an example, he said: "If you are driving at about 100 km/h then your car would have moved 20-30 metres in that one second where you did not pay attention; we have to arrest this trend because if everybody is doing it, then people will start thinking that it is perfectly fine to do so."

Tam said road users are fully aware of the potentially fatal consequences of their actions and its their mental attitude of 'if it happens then it is meant to be', or it will only happen to others and not themselves. or they are over-confident of being a good driver or rider.

He said such train of thought will only make road users take their own safety for granted and lose sight of the long-term consequences of their actions.

"What if the you met in an accident and was crippled, or died, and you are the main breadwinner of the family? What is your wife and children going to do?"

Tam said the year 2020 is drawing close with Malaysia's aspirations to become a developed country but Malaysians still retain a third world mentality when it comes to road safety.

"The difference between developed and non-developed countries are obvious when it comes to road safety; drivers in developed countries will always give way to the more vulnerable party, such as bikers, cyclists, or pedestrians, in Malaysia it's the bigger your car, the bigger your rights.

"Another example would be Japan, the people there are very law-abiding, and if they get a traffic summon they'd be too embarrassed to tell others about it. Here we compare who has the most number of unpaid summonses," he pointed out.

This is also why the road safety campaign for this Chinese New Year is themed "Be considerate, avoid the loss of lives".

Tam said education on road safety should begin from home and examples must be set by parents.

"If parents adhere strictly to traffic laws, children will emulate it and thus it will create a culture of safety within the family and eventually it will spread to friends and their families.

Tam said even those in private sector can establish the safety culture among their staff as a company's asset are their employees.

Tam also urged road users to keep their emotions in check and drive with reason, as anger can often lead to people making poor decisions which results in accidents.

Safety tips

Car drivers
- Check blind spots frequently
- Use signal lights before turning or changing lanes
- Turn on lights when visibility is poor
- Wear seat belts correctly
- Do not drive in emergency lanes

Motorcyclists
- Wear Sirim approved helmets and fasten buckle
- Wear reflective, bright coloured clothing or safety vests when riding
- Use signal lights before turning or changing lanes

Pedestrians
- Use the zebra crossing or pedestrian lights when crossing
- Use nearby overhead bridges
- Do not jaywalk

10 golden rules of road safety

1. Plan your journey
2. Adhere to the speed limit
3. Observe road safety guidelines when overtaking
4. Stop on red at traffic lights
5. Do not tailgate
6. Check your mirrors and use your signal lights before changing lanes
7. Do not jump queue
8. Do not weave through traffic
9. Always give way to motorcyclists and pedestrians
10. Most importantly, keep your cool