We must inculcate ideal driving behaviour through policies, education

How drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles. - NSTP file picHow drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles. – NSTP file pic

BASED on studies from as early as the 1970s, drivers play important roles in road transport safety and efficiency.

Based on the models developed by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) in predicting road fatalities in Malaysia, it is expected that the number of fatalities will increase to 10,716 this year. Last year, there were 6,167 road accident deaths, with 64 per cent of fatalities involving motorcyclists and pillion riders, according to reports.

According to a study by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, most respondents in Selangor agree that they have driving behaviour that involve improper overtaking, tail-gating and disobeying traffic lights.

Efforts and interventions to address this have been introduced, but unfortunately,nurturing good driving behaviour and attitudes have not been receiving the attention it deserves. How drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles.

Their reactions are based on their attitudes, decisions, habits and spontaneity. Their reactions are also affected by internal and external factors, such as intentions, conscience and mental state, which could be affected by substances such as drugs and alcohol.

It is crucial to tackle bad driving behaviour because bad drivers can cause accidents, traffic congestion, road rage, higher fuel consumption and higher production of exhaust gases.

Unfortunately, no technology can mitigate bad driving behaviour. Studies have proven that drivers who practise ideal driving behaviour reduce road risks, cut fuel use (five to 20 per cent), mitigate pollutants,improve traffic congestion and prevent road rage.

Thus, it is essential to establish a standard for ideal driving behaviour. The criteria for ideal driving behaviour should be based on safety, efficiency and convenience, which will benefit drivers, passengers, road users and the environment.

A code of ethics must be developed and enforced so that ideal driving behaviour can be nurtured.

It should cover discipline and courtesy towards other road users, such as eco-driving style, safe driving, avoiding distractions, parking ethics, emotions management, planning routes and vehicle maintenance.

When a driver has high awareness, sharp skills and measure their practices, an ideal driving behaviour can be achieved. To achieve this goal, changes must be made in policies and education.

Measures have been suggested based on scientific findings and many countries that have adapted them have seen positive results. With the alarming number of fatalities linked to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it justifies the need for a driving code of ethics.

Once everybody is aware about this code of ethics, nurturing an ideal driving behaviour in the young will come naturally. To implement the new code of ethics effectively, education programmes must embrace social media and use the power of information technology to reach every road user.

To ensure ideal driving behaviour becomes a reality, the responsibility must be shared. The relevant ministries must work with state and local governments, while vehicle manufacturers and distributors should contribute by providing training modules and awareness programmes to customers.

Educational institutions should play a role by including the ideal driving behaviour in their curriculum.

Last but not least, parents, who are role models for their children, must be the best example to the young ones by always practising safety measures like using a child car seat, seat belts, safety helmets, as well as respecting traffic lights, speed limits and the environment.

Even though ideal driving behaviour may seem difficult to achieve for Malaysian road users, it is still possible if everyone in related sectors work hand-in-hand towards that ultimate goal.

By Dr Mohd Azman Abas.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/11/642999/we-must-inculcate-ideal-driving-behaviour-through-policies

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