SEREMBAN – On expressways, speed could be a major factor contributing to fatal accidents, and because of that, the speed limit on all main expressways and federal roads in the country is reduced.
Various operations are also carried out by enforcement agencies such as the Road Transport Department (RTD), Malaysia Royal Police (PDRM) and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) during the festive season to “terrify” motorists and indirectly teach them to be courteous on the road.
Last March, Road Safety Department (JKJR) deputy director-general Datuk Roslan Eusoff, citing statistics by PDRM, said an average of 20 people were killed everyday from 7,152 cases of fatal accident reported last year.
The crash at Kilometer 25 Jalan Bahau-Keratong, Jempol, last Sunday, in which eight people were killed, including six who were burnt to death in their car, was a tragedy that touched the hearts of many as it happened as Muslims are making preparations for the coming Aidilfitri.
In the accident, involving three cars, namely Proton Preve, Perodua Myvi and Toyota Vios, and a trailer lorry laden with oil palm, two children were orphaned when their parents were among those killed.
Questions surface whether it is the road surface of expressways, federal roads and state roads, attitude and vehicle technical problems that cause accident.
Roslan also referred to a finding by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) that 82 per cent of fatal accidents reported last year was caused by the motorists’ own negligence.
Meanwhile, Jempol district police chief Supt Noorzainy Mohd Noor said Jalan Bahau-Keratong, which is narrow and with many curves, made it a hot spot for accidents.
However, he did not rule out the factor of drivers exceeding the speed limit as contributing to the road crash.
Jalan Bahau-Keratong, stretching about 80 kilometres, linking Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Johor is often used by heavy vehicles, It is dark at night as street lights are only available at the intersections.
Malaysian Academic Association Congress (MAAC) president Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Idrus Mohd Masirin, who concurred with Roslan and Noorzainy that the attitude of drivers also contributed to road accidents, said negligence of drivers, condition of the vehicles, road condition and weather were also contributing factors.
“Most accidents that happened in the country are not only due to road condition. It involves mostly the attitude and emotion of road users and the condition of their vehicles,’ he told Bernama here today.
Mohd Idrus, who is a professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Environment, Department of Infrastructure and Geomatic Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), said a study conducted by Brunei Road safety Director Dr Hj Supry Ag Ladi found that age, sex, surrounding, rest and food, were also important factors for safe driving.
“Driving on a full stomach can make us sleepy, age and not enough rest can affect our focus when driving,” he said.
Mohd Idrus said the critical time to drive is between 1 am and 4 am as during that period the body needs to rest and from 1 pm and 3 pm.
“Drivers who are hungry or too full can easily can lose focus and become careless and sleepy. Hence, they can easily lose control of their vehicles causing their vehicle to skid and crash into other vehicle,”he added.
Referring to the road crash at Kilometer 25 Jalan Bahau-Keratong last Sunday, he said there was a possibility of one of the drivers wanting to overtake another vehicle and the other driver was not alert.
“It is the responsibility of drivers to be cautious when driving at locations which are prone to accident,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department Director-General Datuk Seri Ir Dr Roslan Md Taha was quoated as saying that the department would study the need to upgrade Jalan Bahau-Keratong following statistics on road crashes there.
He suggested the relevant authorities to put up road signs which are visible to road users.
“Warning signs are crucial for drivers, as well as street lights, like at isolated sharp bends,” he added.
He also suggested the police of RTD to mount road blocks before hot-spot locations as it could cause road users to slow down their vehicles.
Roslan said roads were built to facilitate communication and for the public to move from one place to another safely and in comfort.
“Roads are not the place for people to show their driving skills or test drive their vehicles. The roads are to bring us close to our families, relatives and friends. They are not meant to take away our loved ones,” he added.
The 2.20 am crash at Kilometer 25 Jalan Bahau-Keratong, Jempol, last Sunday also killed six family members, who were burnt in their Proton Exora .
They are the driver, Wan Mohd Fauzi Wan Mohd Ibrahim, 52, his wife Masnoraida M Yussof, 44, and their four children – Wan Muhammad Muhaimmin, 21, Wan Athira, 18, Wan Mohd Ammar Haziq, 13, and Wan Nur Aiesya, 7.
Two others killed in the crash are the driver and passenger the Perodua Myvi car – Osman Mohamed Taip, 31, and Rosniza Othman, 32, while their three-year-old son Muhammad Alifthaqif Osman was injured and now under treatment at Tuanku Ampuan Najihah Hospital in Kuala Pilah. – BERNAMA