KUALA LUMPUR: The installation of another 1,200 Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras at highways nationwide should not be viewed as punitive but as a measure to educate motorists to obey traffic rules, said Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He said research conducted by Miros in 2014 showed that the 14 AES cameras currently installed in Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have proven to be effective in reducing road fatalities due to speeding and running a red light.
According to the institute’s findings, there was a 87.6 per cent reduction in red light running violations after the cameras were installed at certain traffic light junctions at Jalan Ipoh-Kuala Kangsar and Jalan Pasir Puteh in Perak, and Jalan Klang Lama and Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur.
Installing more AES cameras at strategic locations would discourage motorists from speeding throughout the whole stretch of the highways concerned, said Lee.
“Usually, when motorists enter the camera zone, they tend to slow down and then speed once past the zone. But they won’t be able to do that after more cameras are installed.
“Of course, there’s nothing to stop them from speeding in the camera-free sections (of the highways) but, at least, they’re aware that they can’t speed all the way. It’s one of the ways to help minimise road accidents in our country,” he told Bernama.
AES PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE
Lee also said that the AES camera could hardly be considered as a “trap” because it was easily visible and there were ample signboards to alert motorists.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had said on April 9 that another 1,200 AES cameras would be installed at strategic locations nationwide to capture pictures of vehicles of errant motorists, as well as to educate them to obey traffic rules.
According to Miros statistics, a total of 489,606 road accidents occurred last year, compared to 476,196 in 2014. Last year’s accidents resulted in 6,706 deaths, translating to roughly 18 deaths daily due to road accidents.
Lee said in view of reports that Malaysia has one of the highest number of road accidents in the world, it has to implement effective measures to bring down the accident and fatality rates.
“The AES is not intended to be punitive but to check the rising number of accidents in this country,” he said, adding that motorists need not worry about the installation of another 1,200 cameras “if they choose to abide by all the traffic rules”.
He said the system had worked well in several developed countries in Europe, as well as Australia and the United States. Globally, more than 90 countries have been using the AES since the late 1970s.
According to the Malaysian Road Transport Department website, France’s AES has helped to reduce the number of deaths due to road accidents by 27 per cent within three years of its implementation. In the United Kingdom, traffic violations decreased by six per cent while in Kuwait, accidents decreased by 48 per cent.
Lee, meanwhile, urged the public to acknowledge the effectiveness of the AES cameras in improving road safety and not to listen to allegations by irresponsible parties that the sytem was not entirely foolproof and that it could be manipulated.
He said when the AES pilot project was implemented in Malaysia in 2012, a lot of questions arose over its efficacy, “but now we have the evidence on the effectiveness of the AES. So, I think the public needs to understand that the cameras are there for their own benefit and safety”.