A fatal price to pay
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.