Seat belts, helmets reduces fatalities

KUALA LUMPUR: Wearing seat belts and helmets improves the safety of road users by 60%, says the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).

Miros director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said using safety features effectively reduces fatalities and risks faced by motorists and passengers during unfortunate circumstances like accidents.

"Serious injuries that can result in deaths are normally caused by failure of passengers to wear seats belts. Upon impact during accidents, passengers are thrown out or knock into hard objects while motorcyclists or pillion riders who do not wear proper helmets can suffer critical injuries or death," he said.

He said 20,257 accidents that resulted in 155 deaths were recorded throughout the country during the first seven days of "Ops Selamat 7" which was launched on July 10.

Wong said the total number of deaths showed that there were 22 deaths a day compared with 13 for the same period last year and from that number, pillion riders on motorcycles accounted for 94 deaths.

Road users need to start taking responsibility for their own safety while driving since more than 80% of traffic accidents are caused by human error, according to Miros statistics.

Passengers seated in the front and back must also buckle up since statistics reveal that nearly 90% of vehicles currently on Malaysian roads are fitted with rear seat belts, giving seat belt access to 85% of vehicle occupants in the country.

Miros statistics showed that the compliance rate for rear seat belt rule was 47% when introduced in February 2009, but this plummeted to 13% by end-2009, 9.7% by 2010 and 9.2% by 2011.

Compliance rose to 13.5% in 2012, before dropping again to 12.5% in 2013, and 7.7% for the first four months of 2014. Miros says compliance and awareness seem to be created more out of the fear of being fined. – Bernama