Regular enforcement will ensure road safety

24 May 2018 / 19:53 H.

    WE have a unique status of being the only country in the world with an apparently good "infrastructure" for road safety; namely, (ex) Cabinet Committee on Road Safety, Road Safety Council, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research and a Department of Road Safety.
    But why have we failed to curtail the road deaths despite such a heavy "investment"? The main reason is an emphasis on education without a concomitant increase in enforcement. The real medicine for road safety is the "bitter" enforcement.
    Traffic police need to be relieved of administrative duties to effectively enforce rules. The police could theoretically increase enforcement efforts overnight but that would not be popular. They are eternally in a dilemma as to how much their enforcement level should be, especially when the government tries to be "popular".
    Enforcement has to be increased, be both overt/covert, universal (all areas including rural areas), continuous and not just seasonal or before festive seasons. The overall aim should be to increase the "perception of being caught" anywhere/ any time among the people.
    We need to address the "low hanging fruits" in the field of road safety. These are as follows:
    Enforcement of laws on speed limits, drinking and driving, proper helmets, seat belts, distracted driving (handphone use). Other "zero-cost" measures include motorcyclists wearing bright clothes at night.
    Many governments in the region have had success with road safety and their efforts are summarised in the WHO Reports on Road Safety. We need to urgently emulate some of their efforts.
    Prof Krishnan Rajam
    RCSI UCD Malaysia Campus

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