THOUGH much has been written and said about road crashes, we still tend to underestimate the magnitude of the problem. According to police figures, there are about 7,000 deaths annually.
There is no universal definition of serious injury, which generally includes those who have been hospitalised or, at least, sustain some degree of permanent disability.
The exact number of serious injuries in Malaysia is not known (though official figures show a decline over the last several years).
The World Health Organisation estimates for every road traffic death, there are 15 serious injuries and 70 minor injuries.
Using this proportion, about 100,000 families are devastated annually by deaths and serious injuries /disability/ hospitalisations.
We understand that a significant number of road crashes, especially those not resulting in injuries or only minor injuries, are referred to insurance for claim purposes.
Many crashes are not reported to any authority for reasons of summons, mutual convenience, etc.
If one adds up the total of individuals affected, it will be more than a million. I have not considered the millions affected by traffic jams resulting from crashes.
So, for every hour our policymakers and enforcement delay an effective decision or action, scores of families are either devastated or affected.
Prof Dr Krishnan Rajam