Fatal road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Malaysia. According to statistics released by the Road Transport Department Malaysia (JPJ), there are 6,740 deaths cases reported in 2018 due to a road accident.
This essay will discuss the fatal road accident in Malaysia with identifying the causes and solutions to overcome it.
We will find the role of careless drivers, non-resilient vehicles and roads conditions in increasing fatal road accidents as well as propose some solutions to prevent this human-made catastrophe.
The first cause of road accidents is the attitude of the driver himself. According to Sabey and Stoughton that human factors contributed about 95% on road accident. The main aspect that causes human errors is lack of sleep, consumption of alcohol, long driving hours and driving patterns such as driving at midnight and early dawn (Wang, 2006). Indirectly, drivers are not only risking their lives but also the lives of other road users.
According to statistics by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) on 13th November 2017 reveals that 43.4 per cent of road users use mobile phones while driving causing a road accident.
According to Haddon Matrix developed by Dr William Haddon Jr. in 1970, environment factor also contributes to the road accident. Environment factor includes roadway structure which is unsafe from various aspects such as hollow, narrow, damaged and uneven street lights.
On 9th March 2018, its reported three die, one seriously injured in three-vehicle accident in Gerik-Jeli East-West Highway (JRTB), Gerik district police chief Supt Ismail Che Isa said initial investigation found that two deceased were travelling in the car and on the way to Gerik when it grazed one of the high-powered motorcycles from the opposite direction as it was navigating a bend on a slope. There are many deaths have been recorded in the area because of the poor road structure.
Besides that, vehicle factor includes vehicle design and vehicle maintenance also causing a road accident. There are few reports of defects with vehicles involved in road accidents, such as brake system failures, unresponsive steering system, worn tyres, poor lighting system (Agbonkhese, 2013).
Predominantly, road safety measures are classified into the three 3 Es: Engineering, Education and Enforcement (McKenna, 2012). Road safety engineering relates to measures specifically designed to improve road safety through infrastructure intervention.
We can take a step on educating the public on road safety to prevent road accident. According to News straits times, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the National revised on Road Safety Education Module for Primary Schools. It is to improve knowledge and awareness of road safety among students. Creating a positive parental role in road safety education is helpful for positive road safety behaviours by the child (e.g. wearing a seat belt, not speeding, avoiding reckless driving). Additionally, the government should organize more campaigns to increase road safety awareness to all Malaysian.
Effective enforcement through increasing police visibility, including publicly stopping and fining drivers, has led to a decrease in speed violations. Additionally, the government must also tighten the level of test approval conducted by road transport department (JPJ) to test vehicle drivers.
According to Kanellaidis (2009), the improvement of road infrastructure is important in reducing accidents. Safer roads and mobility is one of the five pillars of the Malaysia Road Safety plan 2014-2020 (PKJRM 2014-2020). There are various activities under this pillar include revaluation of speed limits based on the type of road and vehicle, implement of speed control methods, implementation safety on road barriers programme and approach on “forgiving roadside design”. Infrastructure design and improvement help in reducing road accident fatalities.
According to Charles d. Reese (2012), the driver should be the one ultimately responsible to make sure that the vehicle being driven in safe operating condition. Therefore, Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom) is offering a vehicle inspection campaign to assist vehicle owners and drivers to ensure that their vehicles are in good condition and safe for driving, while a good vehicle condition can reduce the rate of road accidents.
A fatal road accident in Malaysia is increasing every year and life threating to all people. As we know many factors that cause this problem and the main reason is from human, other than are the poor road infrastructure, and vehicle factors. The rate of road accidents could be reduced by the various actions including from education, campaign, stricter law enforcement, improved road infrastructure, and proper vehicle maintenance. Henceforth, everyone must cooperate and give more attention to obeying road regulation and safe driving to prevent road accident in Malaysia.
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