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‘Road safety everyone’s duty’

08 Jul 2020 / 10:23 H.

PETALING JAYA: Social responsibility is as essential as law enforcement to ensure road safety. The people should be involved (in efforts to improve road safety), according to Dr Law Teik Hwa of the Road Safety Research Centre at Universiti Putra Malaysia.

“We cannot just wait (for the government to act),” he told theSun yesterday.

He said law enforcement is only a short-term solution to the problem.

Law was commenting on the spate of road accidents caused by those driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, some of which have led to fatalities.

For instance, he said bars could make deals with ride-hailing service providers to take their customers home instead of allowing them to drive.

“We can also change tradition. For example, we do not need to serve alcoholic drinks at wedding dinners,” he added.

Alliance for a Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said rather than putting all attention on DUI, the authorities should also focus on other road safety concerns.

Data published last year by the Home Ministry showed that fatalities caused by those driving while intoxicated caused 47 deaths on the road from 2011 to April 2019.

In the same period, there were 16,685 fatalities caused by vehicular crashes due to their own negligence.

Another 6,274 deaths were caused by drivers veering into other lanes, while those who switched lanes caused accidents that resulted in 6,046 deaths.

Other causes of road fatalities were tailgating (3,105 deaths), driving against traffic (1,661) and beating the red light (1,294).

Lee, who is former chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, said the data showed that reckless driving and the failure of rear seat passengers to wear seat belts were bigger concerns.

“While drink driving is a serious matter, other concerns should not be ignored.”

Lee said his experience working with the Road Transport Department showed that human error was the greatest concern in road safety.

“Some people drive recklessly, turning the highway into a grand prix.”

He said there should be emphasis on safety measures.

Lee noted that although the law now requires rear seat passengers to wear safety belts, less than 1% of them abide by the rule.

He said that child safety seats is another matter that should be addressed. The authorities should use the current focus on DUI to address other safety concerns pro-actively.

“Drink-driving is only part of the problem. The authorities should review the laws and regulations with a view to tighten them.”

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