Road Accidents in Malaysia - Causes & Solutions
My own article for the road safety lovers....
In today of the Malaysia’s mass media like television, newspaper and radio, we can see and hear many tragic and unfortunate news about the road accidents that causes many innocent lives die or injuring-suffered. Road safety safety has becomi becoming ng the serious serious issues nowada nowadays ys as traffic traffic accide accidents nts in Malaysia has been raising at the average rate of 9.7% per annum over the last 3 decades (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006). This issue need be taken seriously by everyone especially the road users about the importance of road safety in Malaysia. Although the multiple bodies regarding on road safety has been formed within the government departments, private agencies and voluntary organizations and launches many road safety campaigns previously, the road accidents still happens every time and everywhere whether at the normal days or festival seasons. There are various aspects of causes that need to be looked out and investigated before we can find the solutions or steps to prevent or at least, reduce the numbers of road accidents in Malaysia at the future.
According to the statistics of Road Accidents in Malaysia 2005 by Royal Malaysian Malaysian Police (RMP), the totals of road accidents had increased from 24,581 cases in 1974 to 328,264 cases in 2005 which reaching more than 135% of accident accident cases over 30 years. The fatalities’ fatalities’ count count also increased increased at slower rate, compared to total road accident from 2.303 in 1974 to 6,200 in 2005. However, after Malaysian Government has established a 5-year national road safety target to reduce the road accident deaths by 30% by the year 2000, the growing trend of road fatalities dropped in 1997. The rapid growth in popu popula lati tion on,,
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encountered in the country is linked with the increase of road accidents. From 1974 until 2005, the average of Malaysian population’s growth rate has been incre increase ased d about about 2.1% 2.1% per per year year with with the the total total road road lengt length h had had also also been been increased from 11,161 km to 71,814 km which lead to the increase of vehicle ownership from 9.6 persons per vehicle to 1.7 persons per vehicle and the total numbers of registered vehicles also increased to 15,026,660 vehicles from 1,090.279 1,090.279 vehicles vehicles in 2005. 2005. However, However, there is a decrease in the death death rate despite an increased in traffic accidents and road fatalities where the death
rate value has dropped from 5.17 in 2001 to 4.13 in 2005 and accident death rate per 100,000 peoples has also decreased from 24.35 in 2001 to 23.73 in 2005. However, according to road accident statistics in 2005 from RMP in Statistical Report Road Accident, the casualties from motorcycle accident constitute 66% (31,222) of all traffic accidents casualties (47,012) in Malaysia (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006). According to Statistical report Road Accident, Road Traffic Branch, RMP Bukit Aman (2001-2003), it shows that estimated 46% to 49% fatal and serious accident occurred at State and Municipal roads in Malaysia.
The death rate of road users in the road accidents has affected the Malaysian economy in Gross Domestic Product (GNP). In Accident Costing Report AC5: Malaysia from ADB-ASEAN Regional Safety Program, the country lost RM 7.5 billion in 2003 with the value of a life lost estimated at RM 1.2 million. So, the cost of lives lost due to the road accidents equaled 2 % of the 2003 GNP which was over RM 385.7 billion. The amounts are the minimum lost as only the road accident fatalities were considered. For the cost of road accidents, the total cost of road accidents in Malaysia for 2003 is RM 9.374 billion which amounts to a loss of 2.4% of the 2003 GNP. The estimations are acknowledged to be the minimum losses due to the underreporting of road accident cases in the police. Based on police data, for every road death, close to 1.5 people were hospitalized and another roughly 6.0 were slightly injured. So, the improvement in the road users’ safety should have a desirable effect on the quality of Malaysian’s life.
There are various causes behind the road accidents that occurs everyday but there is rarely an incident situation where only thing or person is the sole of accident (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006).
causes can be a mixture of three basic factors such as road user errors, road environment faults and vehicle defects. However, the human factors becoming one of the biggest factors that contribute to the road accidents in Malaysia and it should be looked forward and not ignored by everyone. According to Tan Sri Musa Hassan as National Police Chief, he said that RMP has conducting the
research regarding the increasing of road accidents’ number and discovering the fact that the human attitude is the main factor that contributed into the number of road accidents in this country. This is because the drivers especially using new vehicles nowadays drove exceeding the speed limit that stated by the government laws with the increasing of road network and vehicle’s specification. Some of them more intend to drive their vehicles too fast and recklessly on the road because they want to show off to other vehicle drivers or they don’t really appreciate their own life and others as well. This situation also might be due to the availability and visibility of existing road signboards and none realistic speed limit may impose to decline the further increase in speeding motorists (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006). They are also very careless when driving because they don’t paying the attention on the road, driving and doing other jobs at the same time in the vehicle like talking on phone or sending SMS and driving in drunk which lead to the number of road accidents in Malaysia. These human errors should be avoided because it could endanger the drivers’ life and other road users which can cause death or serious injured when the road accidents happened.
Another cause that contributes to the number of road accidents to happen regularly is the combination of traffic composition. There is no separation between the traffic compositions as most of traffic in Malaysia is a combination of small, medium and heavy vehicle that shares the same road everyday. The consequence from this cause is it might harm the safety of vehicle users especially the motorcyclists on the road. According to Statistical Report Road Accident by RMP in 2005, it shows that casualties in the road accident come from the motorcycle accidents which contribute 66% or 31,122 of all traffic accident casualties (47,012) in Malaysia. Improper intersection design can cause significant increase of the road accidents. According to Statistical Report Road Accident by Royal Malaysian Police in 2003, road accidents happening at intersection which including cross, T/Y and staggered junction after straight road about 22%.
This happens because improper
designs of right turn that didn’t provide enough storage lanes for the vehicle while waiting to turn right and lack of safe sight distance which causes rear end collision for the example. Moreover, the number of intersections per
kilometer also contributes to the road accidents. A study done by Road Safety Research Centre from University Putra Malaysia concluded that the road section with more than 15 junctions per kilometer are about 1.67 more higher to have an accident than with less than 15 junctions per kilometer (Radin, Chai, Hussain and Law, 2001) .
There is no provision in street lightning for the road users which might lead to the road accidents. This is because no proper street lightning and low visibility on the road especially at junction at the night times could provide more road accidents to the road users like the pedestrians when walking on the roadsides. At the same time, there is also no provision of pedestrian crossing as there wasn’t enough pedestrian crossings being put up or there are no pedestrian crossing provided which can protect the pedestrian from the road accidents. High traffic volume is one of the contributors to traffic accidents in Malaysia as a study by University Putra Malaysia for Road Safety Research Centre said that an accident along the sections with the average daily traffic (ADT) above 30,000 is about 47% higher than ADT less than 30,000. High traffic volumes cause not enough gaps in between vehicles at intersection and less change to overtake other motorists (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006).
No enough signal lights can causes the road accidents to
happen. This is because in the urban area, there are a large number of traffic lights available but it isn’t located at the strategic intersection road. This would create havoc and chaos to the traffic flow and movement pattern of vehicles that will increase the change for accident to happen regularly on the road.
There are several solutions or steps that can be taken to prevent the road accidents from becoming the worst case scenario in Malaysia. One of the solutions is education as it can develop the good attitude of road users and prevent from the road accidents. The road users should learn and educated to be aware about the road safety and having good manner as a road user in Malaysia. The education of road safety should be conducted from time to time before he can become a driver when he was receiving driving lesson and after he was eligible to become a driver and receive the driving license. The education of road safety can be presented through three channels; morale
education in school, driving schools and public communications like television and radio. The function that can be played by the morale education in school to decrease the road accidents is giving the basic morale lesson which can be adapted in the road safety. The example is the students can adapting the principle of respecting that learned at school into the road safety by always respect the rights of other road users. For the driving schools, they can play their roles by providing the specific driving lessons and create better self manner for a driver. The public communications especially television and radio should also playing their parts by reminding the road users about the road safety everyday and every time so that they will be aware and take proactive measure to prevent the road accidents from happening to them in the future.
The government must enforce the law regarding the road safety towards the road users who broke the law to solve the problem of road accidents. Without the law, the bad road users will always tried to harm others in the road safety. There are two parts of law which are law development and law enforcement. The development of law for the road safety should give the psychology effects to the road users who likely to break the road law to harm other road users’ life and provide the practical choice to the police for enforcing. With the law that brings the terrifying punishment like maximum prison sentences, the majority of road users will be scared to involve in the road accidents. The law will not becoming perfect if it doesn’t complete with the law enforcement because the good enforcement can improve the relevance of law and the effect towards the road safety.
The road safety can be improved to decrease the number of road accidents in the future by improving the hazardous location of road accidents. This is because the road accidents always happens in the location where it easily to be happened like at the Federal Roads. One of the ways to improve the hazardous location is providing the exclusive motorcycle lane. This is because according to the research done by Road Safety Research Centre, Universiti Putra Malaysia estimated a decrease of 39% fatal accident involving motorcycles can be achieved with the usage of exclusive motorcycle lane (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006). The road safety also can be improved by
paving the road shoulders, road line marking and proper installation of road signboard. From this way, it can offer recovery and maneuvering space for the road users from out of control and crash with other road users. This happen because they don’t have enough space for their small and medium sized of vehicles drive safely on the road with other vehicles which come from front view or behind the vehicle’s direction.
The dangerous curve should be improved as an accident statistic shown that 25% fatal accident happen involved motorist hitting object off-road, overturned and out of control (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006). The safety action should be taken as this accident always happen at the road curve by increasing the numbers of warning signboard to improve the safe of vehicle speed and put in the delineators to improve visibility of road position during night times or heavy rain. The pedestrian crossing should be provided in the strategic place like school and government building which according to Statistical Report Road Accident in 2000 by Road Traffic Branch of RMP Bukit Aman, estimates that the pedestrian at the age of 6-10 (23%) is the highest percentage of pedestrian death toll followed up by age ranging from 11-15 years old. The provision of pedestrian crossing should involved 2 types of crossing; at-grade signalized pedestrian crossing and pedestrian bridges. The overtaking line also should be available for every 5 kilometer stretch of road that has the numbers of accident cases with the head-on-collision. From this way, it will provide enough space for other high speed vehicle to overtake the low speed vehicle like van and small lorry. The installation of street lightning should be provided at the particular road that has high pedestrian activities by identifying the location that has highest night time accidents involving the pedestrian. The road maintenance at the major roads in Malaysia should be taken seriously by the authority as they’re always ignored the road maintenance’s quality. They should improve the road maintenance by paving the potholes, road-side furniture maintenance and drainage cleanup so that the road accidents will not happen again in the future at the same place. Other road maintenances by putting the new installations like road signage, road stud, hump and transverse bars should be done so that early warning can be given to drivers to improve their driving (Mohamad Nizam Mustafa, 2006).
Although the number of road accidents in Malaysia can be prevent or decreased through various solutions, the human elements shouldn’t be ignored and can’t be avoided by many people when involving the life of innocent person who were affected by the tragic road accidents. This is because the road users need to be aware and take seriously about the road safety when they’re driving on the road so that many lives can be saved from the disastrous and horrifying of road accidents. So, there are several ways that the road users can take for their own protections against the road accidents. According to Malaysia Road Safety Department, there are 8 ways of road safety that need to be followed which are planning own journey, always following the speed limits, give the signal and following all safety rules when change the lane, stop when the light of traffic light shows red, avoid from following other vehicles all the times, obey the safety guidelines when overtake, don’t overtake the line or misuse the emergency lane and avoid from overtake between vehicles. By following this ways, the road users can avoid from involving in the road accidents and reduce the change of accident risks which saves many innocent lives.
Motorcyclists who are contributing the most road accident casualties in Malaysia can take proactive actions to reduce the accident risks and prevent the road accidents from happening to them when riding on the road. The number of motorcyclists’ death is an alarming 3,600 or 58% from the total 6,275 deaths due to the road accidents in 2006 because motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injures in the accidents where they have no seatbelts or outside protection other than the helmet.
One of the proactive actions is
wearing the “safety compliant helmet” which it can reduce 70% of the head injuring as the motorcyclists more likely to wear the cheap helmets that are dangerous and a safety hazard to them and not compliant to the minimum safety standards or equivalent international safety standard helmets. Children also need to wear child helmets by ensuring that the helmets for children are in good quality and properly fastened. Other proactive actions that motorcyclists can be taken to prevent the road accidents are always wearing the bright colored outfit when riding every time, never tailgating the vehicles, not racing
on the public roads, always use the mirrors and signals to ensure it is safe to change the lane or turning, avoid weaving through the traffic due to the sudden lane changes, both hands always be on the handle or steering wheel, shouldn’t ride the motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and not riding with excess the capacity of the comprises steering control and braking efficiency. From this way, the road users especially motorcyclists who are endanger the live of other innocent road users will be able to abide with the road laws regarding the road users’ safety.
The conclusion we can make from the road accidents is patient and discipline on the road are the important values to the road users. This is because by having these qualities, the road users can become more self-aware about their own safety and contribute it on the road. The most important is thinking about own self’s life and others as well so that not many people will not get killed or lost their lives in the road accidents in the future. So, think safety when driving or using the road to the destination.
Mohamad Nizam Mustafa (2006). Overview Of Current Road Safety Situation
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Radin Umar M.S. (2005). Updates of Road Safety Status In Malaysia. Retrieved
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