A fa­tal price to pay

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

I RE­FER to your front-page re­port “18 deaths a day” on Malaysian roads.

The road ac­ci­dent death sta­tis­tics are fright­en­ing with an av­er­age of 18 deaths per day. Last year alone there were 6,706 deaths with 489,000 accidents on Malaysian roads.

Mo­tor­cy­clist fa­tal­i­ties top the list (3,816) fol­lowed by pil­lion riders (387) with 11,550 oth­ers suf­fer­ing in­juries due to hu­man fac­tors, in­clud­ing over a mil­lion with­out li­cences to ride or drive, con­tribut­ing to an in­crease in ac­ci­dent rates of 2.8% last year from 2014.

Just over a mil­lion deaths oc­cur each year world­wide due to road accidents 70% of which oc­cur in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Pedes­tri­ans make up 65% of deaths, 35% of which are chil­dren. Es­ti­mates sug­gest that 23–34 mil­lion peo­ple are in­jured world­wide ev­ery year in road crashes – a value al­most twice than pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated. It is pre­dicted that more than 200 US cit­i­zens die each year due to road accidents abroad.

Ev­ery year in Europe, more than 50,000 peo­ple are killed in road accidents, and more than 150,000 re­main dis­abled. It is a sad fact that the to­tal num­ber of road accidents in Malaysia ex­ceeded 223,000 in 1999.

On av­er­age, 16 peo­ple died from these road accidents, ev­ery sin­gle day in 1999. Lack of at­ten­tion, reck­less driv­ing, lack of proper pro­tec­tion, speed­ing, bad per­sonal habits, so­cial and be­havioural mis­con­duct and in­con­sid­er­ate driv­ers of larger ve­hi­cles are some of the prob­lems that cause accidents.

In Malaysia, fa­tal mo­tor­cy­cle accidents (60%) war­rant a high de­gree of con­cern. Young chil­dren and se­nior cit­i­zens are found to be in the vul­ner­a­ble age group. In 1999 alone, gen­eral in­sur­ers paid RM1.67 bil­lion or an av­er­age of RM4.6 mil­lion a day in motor claims.

Jo­hor tops the list of fa­tal­i­ties (1,040) fol­lowed by Selangor (1,028) with re­ports sug­gest­ing 75% of the accidents are on rural roads, small towns and ma­jor cities, and 25% on fed­eral high­ways.

It is dur­ing fes­tive sea­sons es­pe­cially dur­ing the Hari Raya “Ba­lik Kam­pung” ex­o­dus pe­riod that the fa­tal­i­ties oc­cur and de­spite all kinds of road safety cam­paigns to ed­u­cate and en­gage the pub­lic the num­ber of road fa­tal­i­ties con­tin­ues to rise.

There is no doubt that mo­tori­sa­tion has con­trib­uted in a sig­nif­i­cant way to the pros­per­ity of Malaysia. How­ever, the price be­ing paid for this is enor­mous.

Road accidents in Malaysia cost an es­ti­mated RM7 bil­lion in eco­nomic losses an­nu­ally. It is a high price to pay.

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