Enhance road safety

THE Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) is concerned over the need to improve road safety.

We refer to two accidents last week. On April 6, a lorry heading to Bukit Besi skidded and hit a guardrail on the East Coast Highway. The driver was killed and two others were injured.

On April 2, a multi-purpose vehicle was crushed by a trailer that skidded at Km403.3 of the North-South Expressway (PLUS) near Tanjung Malim. This accident caused the loss of six lives.

According to news reports, the trailer driver lost control of his vehicle when one of its tyres burst.

To reduce road crashes we need to look at road design, vehicle factors and safe operation practices of drivers.

IEM recommends a systematic nationwide road safety assessment and risk mapping; imposing standard requirements for road design; strengthening the use of safety barriers; developing a national speed management strategy and conducting regular road safety audits.

Also, enhancing the licensing process of public services and goods vehicles; mandating the use of retarder systems; encouraging the use of speed limiters and strengthening the heavy vehicle inspection process.

It is important to establish a systematic driver selection and training programme to ensure that only qualified and responsible drivers are allowed on the road. It is also necessary to enhance the road safety culture among road users.

IEM is also concerned about the incident on March 31 where a car plunged into a 16m deep open sewage site near Kajang Perdana. A similar incident took place on May 3 last year at Jalan Universiti near Section 17.

The institution would like to emphasise that wherever there are construction hazards along public roads, appropriate traffic management plans need to be studied and carried out by the contractors. There should be warning signs, road markings, blinkers, flag men and safety barriers.

Where plastic barriers are used, they should be connected and weighed down by water. In areas where there are deep drops, or near water bodies, concrete barriers should be used.

IEM is ready to provide the technical expertise and independent advice.

Ir Tan Yean Chin
The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia