Archive for the ‘Road Safety’ Category

“Set up task force to curb high motorcyclist death toll”

Friday, June 19th, 2020
(File pic) The focus of the task force should be to create a whole new motorcycle riding culture to put an end to speeding, which is the major cause of fatal motorcycle crashes. -NSTP/HAFIZ SOHAIMI(File pic) The focus of the task force should be to create a whole new motorcycle riding culture to put an end to speeding, which is the major cause of fatal motorcycle crashes. -NSTP/HAFIZ SOHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: Prominent social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye today proposed the setting up of a special task force under the Transport Ministry to curb the high death toll among motorcyclists in the country.

Lee, who is also a member of the National Road Safety Council and chairman of newly-formed Alliance for Safe Community, said the focus of the task force should be to create a whole new motorcycle riding culture to put an end to speeding, which is the major cause of fatal motorcycle crashes.

“Reducing the speed limit for motorcyclists is a must if this proposed new riding culture is to be effective. Another strategy is for the creation of special lanes for motorcyclists away from the mixed or fast lanes,” he told Bernama.

Lee, who was the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman, said he strongly believed that if the necessary laws were enacted to enforce this new and safer riding culture, would sharply drop in fatal crashes.

“On the larger picture, it is long overdue that we inculcate a safer riding culture to save this highly preventable and meaningless loss of lives who are mostly our youth aged between 16 and 36,” Lee added.

Lee urged Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong to consider seriously the formation of the task force and to accord the proposal the urgency that it deserved.

An average of over 4,000 motorcyclists and pillion riders were killed in such crashes annually.

Lee cited studies by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) which showed that if the maximum speed for motorcycles is limited to 80km per hour, fatal crashes could be reduced by as much as 80 per cent.

He added that because nothing effective had been done over the years to address this critical life-and-death issue, the number of fatal crashes had not changed and would even escalate with the sharp increase in motorcycles on the road.

“These special lanes must be rolled out throughout the country but have to be properly maintained as well.

“This is very important when they are problems due to insufficient lighting, potholes or water clogging, the local authorities should take remedial action to reduce the impact of such crashes,” he said.

He said during the current movement control order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and because Malaysians complied with the standard operating procedure (SOP) to keep safe from the virus, the number of deaths had been low compared to many other countries.

“If Malaysians follow strictly the SOP on the road as they do for Covid-19, I am confident we can significantly bring down the high rate of fatal road crashes,” he said.

The social activist said these problems were not new but recurring and yet preventive action was either very slow or non-existent.

Citing an example, he quoted a remark by MIROS chairman Datuk Suret Singh that the exclusive motorcycle lanes along the Federal Highway from Kuala Lumpur to Klang mostly reported zero deaths over the past 20 years despite a very high usage by motorcycles.

The Federal Highway is also recognised as Malaysia’s busiest expressway with virtually 24-hour traffic.

Lee also noted that the necessity for this new life-saving riding culture had been frequently highlighted by former Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang in his weekly newspaper column.

“I have suggested to the Transport Minister to consider and implement his suggestions on this issue,” he added.


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‘Monsters’ on the road

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Terrible tragedy: Rescue personnel trying to save victims at the site where the highway bridge collapsed in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China. — Reuters

THE 312 State Road is an important route connecting the eastern, central and northwestern parts of China.

It stretches across eight provinces from Shanghai city to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, covering nearly 5,000km.

On Oct 10, an overpass of the road in Wuxi city of the eastern Jiangsu province collapsed, crushing three cars underneath it.

Three people were killed in the 6.10pm incident.

Two of the victims were a kindergarten teacher, 30, and her daughter, who just started pre-school last month. The other was a single father.

Five other vehicles on the viaduct fell onto the ground, leaving two people injured.

Initial investigations pointed the finger at overloaded trucks for the single-pier bridge collapse.

One of the vehicles is said to be carrying steel products weighing nearly three times more than the permitted 65-tonne.

Six people, including the boss of a transport company, were detained on the same day.

Soon after the incident, shocking video clips captured by various car camcorders went viral on the Internet.

One footage shows the driver of a three-wheeler jumping out of his vehicle when the overpass fell right in front of him.

Liu Jianjun, 36, said he travelled underneath the flyover a few times a day.

“That day, I was rushing to deliver all the goods and go home for a meal; I had not even eaten lunch.

“I remembered jumping out upon seeing some debris falling from the bridge but I fell on the road after running for a few steps.

“Passers-by shouted at me to run but I was too shaken by the incident. I could not even stand up, ” the freelance delivery rider told Qilu Evening News.

Liu then climbed back into his vehicle as it was being pushed to safety by rescuers.

When he reached home, his cousin and brother brought some fireworks and the family went out for a meal to celebrate Liu’s lucky day.

“When I woke up the next day, I found myself becoming a celebrity.

“Media news outlets came one after another and my neighbours rushed over to take pictures with me to share my luck and told me that I would have good fortune after surviving a disaster, ” he said.

Liu said the windscreen of his vehicle was shattered, the lamp broken and the front part was damaged.

“My three-wheeler and I have been through life and death together. I will keep it as long as it is still running, ” he said smilingly.

After the incident, Wuxi government ordered a crackdown on overloaded vehicles.

“We have learnt a lesson and will make every effort to promote safety, ” said mayor Huang Qin.

The Jiangsu provincial public security department has also launched a 100-day operation to crack down on vehicles ignoring safety hazards.

Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture professor Zhu Lei told China Daily that single-pier bridges (a single column in the middle supporting both lanes) are safe as long as they meet standards.“However, when overloaded trucks frequently ply on these bridges, one side of the pier may be damaged, which in the long run can cause an overturn.

“In extreme cases, trucks can outweigh one side of the bridge and cause it to overturn, ” he said.

He said such design used to be popular in China because it saves space but now there are more double-pier bridges with support on both sides.

Prof Zhu said that the concrete and reinforced steel bars of double-pier bridges could also be damaged by overloaded trucks, causing the structure to collapse.

“To prevent this, high-level bridges have sensors to monitor inner stress and possible deformation, while ordinary bridges require regular checks and maintenance, ” he said.The incident has sent a serious reminder on the danger posed by overloaded vehicles on the road, not just to the Chinese authorities, but Malaysians as well.

Lorries with full loads of sand, pebbles or palm fruits are a common scene on Malaysian roads.

Apart from being overloaded, on many occasions, the cargo compartment is not properly secured and debris keeps falling from the moving trucks, sometimes endangering other motorists.

Although there are weighing centres along major roads and highways, I do not know how strict the enforcement is. For sure, I will stay far away from these vehicles whenever I see them on the road.

The Wuxi incident seemed unavoidable, no matter how careful a driver is.

Perhaps it is time our authorities also relook at their standard operation procedure or examine road bridges for the safety of all road users.

By Beh Yuen Hui
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Make safety, maintenance a way of life

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
The frequent occurrences of landslides and road cave-ins point to the authorities’ failure to make maintenance and safety a priority. FILE PIC

AT the start of the new year, let every Ma-laysian resolve to make the country a safer place to live in, safe not only from terrorism, crime and violence but also from tragedies which are of our own doing, be they on the roads, in residential and public areas or at workplaces.

It is essential for people to take heed of one important lesson for humanity: that civilisation can be destroyed if it does not make peace with the environment.

The fact that landslides and road cave-ins are a frequent occurrence points to our failure to make the culture of maintenance and safety a way of life.

When buildings or structures collapse, or the environment is harmed, or accidents and fatalities occur at workplaces, we are responsible. We cannot simply blame nature or the work tools.

We have to realise that any action that results in the degradation and destruction of our environment will have disastrous consequences. Similarly, if we do not manage things efficiently, occupational safety and health accidents can occur at workplaces.

The fact that fatal accidents continue to occur on our roads and highways points to the need for more to be done to improve road engineering and safety, as well as the attitude and behaviour of those behind the wheel.

Over the years, the government has spent billions of ringgit on development, but what is regrettable is the lack of maintenance. This has to be rectified and every effort must be made to inculcate the culture of maintenance and safety. And, those who are placed in charge must not shirk their responsibility.

More funding should be allocated for maintenance to be carried out by the authorities, with dedicated staff to discharge their responsibilities.

On the political front, it is vital for Malaysia to continue to exist as a democratic, united and harmonious nation despite the existence of divergent political ideologies and views.

We need to address more aggressively the issues of racial integration, unity and nation-building, besides having to deal with crime, drug addiction and a host of social ills confronting our nation.

The plans to re-establish the Socio-Economic Research Institute under the Prime Minister’s Office and upgrade the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are timely as they will contribute towards the improvement of ethnic relations and chart out well-researched solutions to address socio-economic issues

We must also focus on the social agenda to deal with the social challenges in the new year.

We have to tackle the multifarious social problems in the country such as juvenile and cyber crime, illegal gambling, acts of violence, the worsening drug problem involving youths and teenagers, as well as those suffering from mental disorders.


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Don’t drink and drive, Lee tells revellers.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: New Year’s Eve partygoers are looking forward to a fun night but they should not neglect their responsibilities while on the road.

Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic) said it is common to hear of drink-driving incidents during festive seasons.

“New Year’s Eve is a time people tend to celebrate with gusto, and when there is the excitement of partying late into the night, many will consume alcohol.

“There is nothing wrong with that since that is an individual’s preference but Miros has been consistent in advising revellers that they should not drive if they are under the influence,” he said.

According to Home Ministry statistics between 2010 and 2015, a total of 1,035 road accidents were recorded due to the influence of alcohol, which resulted in 618 deaths.

Lee urged those who planned to drink to think of ways to get home instead of driving.

“If they want to drink, then they should prepare a different mode of transportation in advance. There are many rideshare applications they can book ahead of time, so there will be no reason to drive.

“If they are going out as a group, they can even ask one of their friends who is not drinking to be the designated driver,” he said.

The operating hours of Light Rail Transit (LRT), the monorail, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Rapid Transit Bus (BRT) and Rapid KL Bus services to some stations will be extended until 2am on Monday to accommodate commuters out celebrating.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offence under the Road Transport Act 1987, and in the event of death or injury to others, the driver can be charged under Section 44 (1), which carries between three and 10 years’ jail term and a fine of between RM8,000 and RM20,000.

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Two schools picked for road safety programme

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: SMK SANZAC and SM St. John are Sabah’s pioneering schools for Road Safety Department’s (JKJR) Road Safety Education (PKJR) programme which will be implemented for primary schools and 2020 for secondary schools next year.

“We will be using a module from Australia which is modified into a national module and will be taught to students from Year 1 to Year 6 in Primary Schools,” said Malaysian JKJR director-general, Dato’ Rosli Isa.

He added that the programme which involves 24 schools across the country will be inserted in the Bahasa Melayu subject with approximately two hours of study every week.

“Next year we will start ‘Training for Trainers’ for Bahasa Melayu teachers to train them in teaching the PKJR to students,” said Rosli adding that the programme is a collaborative effort with other parties including the Ministry of Education, Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Road Transport Department (JPJ), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) and consultation from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

He was speaking to the media after the launching ceremony of JKJR SMK Sanzac and SM St. John ‘Sekolah Angkat’ Programme at SMKSanzac here yesterday which involved talks on traffic laws, importance of road safety as well as procedures on license registration.

According to him, last year’s number of accidents in Sabah was 11,844 cases which involved 338 fatalities, 354 severe injuries and 325 light injuries.

“Sabah is a developing state and more roads will be built such as Pan Borneo, so safety campaigns and advocates will be done continuously with state JKJR, JPJ and PDRM,” affirmed Rosli adding that they will work closely with the state government to conduct more programmes in other districts in Sabah.

He added that the statistics of road accidents among youngsters are alarming since 60 per cent involved motorcyclists and 80 per cent of the accidents are caused by road users’ attitude.

“This is important and we want to lessen the figure because for each life that is lost, the country loses RM1.2million worth of asset,” said Rosli adding that the programme yesterday was also an initiative to help ease and encourage youths to acquire license since almost 50 per cent of accidents among youngsters involved those without a valid driving license.


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Road Safety Education module for primary schools to create greater awareness

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
Road Safety Department (JKJR) director-general Datuk Rosli Isa said currently there were 24 primary schools nationwide that had been chosen to undergo the pilot project. NSTP file pic

KUANTAN: A new Road Safety Education (PKJR) module in Bahasa Malaysia complete with graphics will be introduced at all primary schools in 2019.

Road Safety Department (JKJR) director-general Datuk Rosli Isa said currently there were 24 primary schools nationwide that had been chosen to undergo the pilot project.

He said the new module, which also comes with explanations on traffic lights and safety guidelines, would be inserted in the Bahasa Malaysia subject for two study hours each week.

“It involves Standard One to Standard Six pupils. As early preparation, we will also train Bahasa Malaysia teachers to teach the module beginning next year,” he said at the sidelines of a Special JKJR Advocacy Programme here today.

Rosli said the new module would also be expanded to secondary schools in 2020 to ensure raised awareness on road safety.

“Many apply for (driving) licence after completing Form Five. Every year it is estimated that around 500,000 new licence holders are registered while 1.2 million new cars are registered annually.

“This number is constantly increasing and the level of public awareness over (road) safety aspects need to be increased, as it is estimated that every year sees 10,000 people suffering permanent disability and around 7,000 people killed in road accidents,” he said.

Rosli said the module was part of efforts by JKJR to boost public awareneness as 80 per cent of accidents were caused by negligence of road users.

“Among the avoidable habits that contribute to this problem are running the red light, driving (car) or riding (motorcycle) in a dangerous manner, and not putting enough emphasis on safety aspects while driving.


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Practise safety, advises man who cycles to work.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The safety of cyclists depends on their own behaviour while on the road, says a 40-year-old businessman who has been cycling to work every day since 2011.

Wong Hau Young, an avid cyclist since his teenage years in Ipoh, is also one of those who do not wear a helmet, as he finds it unnecessary.

“There are those who are doing it professionally complete with cycling gear and helmet, and there are the children who modify their bicycles to race.

“As for me, I am just a bicycle user. I don’t use a helmet because I don’t find it necessary,” said Wong who cycles to work and to destinations within a 25km radius of his apartment in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur near here.

Wong traded the comfort of a car for his bicycle six years ago after getting frustrated with the city traffic.

For him, a cyclist must know which roads are too busy and unsafe, and to look for alternative routes.

The PLUS Highway website lists bicycles as a “slow moving vehicle” along with trishaws and tractors, which are not permitted on its highways.

Wong said each month, cyclists in the city gather for a night ride called “Critical Mass” as part of a global movement that aims to raise awareness for cyclists.

From the starting point at Ampang Park, the cyclists will ride together slowly to Dataran Merdeka.

“We will occupy one lane on the road. This movement is to remind other motorists that there are still other people who are not in cars or motorcycles using the road,” he said.

In JOHOR BARU, police have warned the public not to attend any illegal gathering to show support for the mat lajak groups or make degrading remarks that can disrupt investigations on the fatal accident that killed eight teenage cyclists there.

The term mat lajak refers to teenage cyclists who race on modified bicycles without brakes.

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Sulaiman Salleh said police have identified two persons for calling for an illegal assembly as a sign of solidarity towards the mat lajak while opposing enforcement against them, and for posting insulting remarks about the police.

Sulaiman warned that firm action would be taken against anyone involved in organising or attending the rally.

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Traffic woes haunt KK residents daily

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
The worsening traffic congestion is of great concern to residents, especially those commuting to workplaces. — Bernama photo

The worsening traffic congestion is of great concern to residents, especially those commuting to workplaces. — Bernama photo

KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu’s traffic has experienced much change over the years and today traffic congestion is a daily nightmare especially for the residents living in the city centre and neigbouring areas.

Spending 45 minutes or even up to two hours to get to work in the city and back is no longer unusual for those living outside the city, except during school holidays.

Radio segments on traffic in Kota Kinabalu and surrounding areas have become indispensible for city dwellers in planning their journey each day.

Looking back, though there were less alternative routes in the past, traffic congestion in the city was still under control.

Today, its different, an abundance of vehicles on the road and inefficient public transportation are just some of the contributing factors of this problem.

The view of the ever-expanding Kota Kinabalu from Signal Hill. — Bernama photo

The view of the ever-expanding Kota Kinabalu from Signal Hill. — Bernama photo

According to residents, the traffic situation in the city and itssurroundings with almost one million people is becoming more critical by the day.

Lecturer Khairunnisa Islami said traffic in the areas of Sepanggar and Tuaran heading towards Kota Kinabalu builds up as early as 5.30 am.

“During school holidays, however, traffic is under control,” she said.

Meanwhile, civil servant Fairuz Saidi spends between 45 minutes to one hour to reach home although her office is only seven kilometres away from a house in Indah Permai, Manggatal.

Charlie Luke from Tamparuli leaves home by 5.00am to skip the congestion and get to his office in Donggongon, Penampang, early.

“Now more people live outside of Kota Kinabalu but work in the city. Despite our growing population, we still don’t have a reliable public transportation system,” he said.

Mohd Ikram Aidi from Papar, said improving intercity public transportation and train facilities could help reduce traveling time.

“This way the people will opt for public transportation, which reduces travel costs compared to using private cars,” added the civil servant who works in Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) Traffic and Public Transport Department director Kalvin Liaw said traffic flow and the number of vehicles entering the city today is unlike 16 years ago.

Statistics recorded in 2000 showed only 77,000 vehicles enter and leave the city in a day.

Now, an estimated 140,000 vehicles ply the city’s streets daily based on cumulative calculations especially looking at the fact there has been three to four percent increase in car ownership each year.

The increase in vehicle ownership is the reflection of people’s improving affordability as well as more aggressive car sales marketing and attractive offers.

Furthermore, city residents feel that taking their own car is morecomfortable, faster and more efficient than taking public transportation.

“If people continue to choose to drive, traffic congestion will continue,” he added.

However, integrated cooperation from relevant agencies is needed in resolving traffic woes as not all roads are under the jurisdiction of the DBKK and most main roads are under the Public Works Department, continued Kalvin.

Commenting further, Kalvin said it would be difficult to resolve traffic congestion in a developing city if plans were focused on conventional approaches such as road widening and flyovers.

Kalvin forsees that these mechanisms are not the best answer for the present era, though it can lessen the impact of traffic congestion especially at junctions.

“When population increases, so does the car ownership. To tackle this, we need to look at other approaches and not just conventional methods like road widening and building flyovers.

“These are only short-term solutions. Traffic may be smooth for about a year after the road and flyover is ready, but then congestion will appear again soon after.

“Road widening and flyovers are necessary, but we will come to a point that there is no more room for infrastructure development,” he said.

Therefore, for Kalvin, a balanced and proactive town planning approach is needed as the desire to buy and own personal cars could not be curbed.

The city hall had realised that there is a need for a balanced approach for a conducive traffic flow in Kota Kinabalu, which will also improve the Kota Kinabalu’s image as a first-class city.

To make this happen, emphasis should be given to improving the quality of public transportation services to attract more users.

“Currently, the traveling time of public transportation such as buses is not coordinated and there are also too many bus operators plying the same route.


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Be stern in enforcing heavy vehicle laws, says Johor exco

Monday, December 26th, 2016

MUAR: The authorities must be stern in enforcing the law against heavy vehicles, especially express buses, to ensure that the tragic bus accident in Pagoh does not recur, said exco member for health and environment Datuk Ayub Rahmat.

He said whenever a crash involving mass casualties took place, several studies would be carried out but the recommendations from the studies were not implemented.

“In Malaysia, we do not do things seriously. When a similar crash happens again, we will again do studies, ” he told reporters here after visiting survivors of Saturday’s bus crash at Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital.

Ayub said the authorities should act more decisively to address the matter so that such a crash would not recur.

“We should be stern and not cave in to threats by certain parties in implementing the law for the sake of public safety.”

He said there was a proposal for the installation of the black boxes on express buses to reduce crashes but it was not implemented.


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Call to step up safety at KKIP roundabout

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Sepanggar residents on Friday called for safety precautions to be taken following frequent accidents at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park roundabout along Jalan Sepanggar.

The latest incident which took place at the roundabout claimed the life of a 32-year-old Malaysia Airlines Berhad staff last Sunday.

The man was riding home on his motorcycle when he lost control of the superbike which crashed into the side of the roundabout at about 10.30pm.

A resident, Musri Tabin, said accidents have frequently taken place at the roundabout which is prone to mishaps especially during the rainy season when puddles of water would appear on the road surface.

“We hope the relevant authorities would also look into placing more warning signs and putting up more lights in the area,” he said.

He also hoped the sides of the roundabout would be raised, since the current design was too low.

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