CAP: Act fast on road accidents

 |Aug 11, 2016
Thousands are being killed each year in road accidents in Malaysia.
Thousands are being killed each year in road accidents in Malaysia.

Transport authorities have been rapped for lacking urgency to implement the 51 recommendations made by the Advisory Panel of the Genting Highlands crash to improve road safety standards across the country.

Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris has rebuked transport authorities over their consistent flip flop and delays in implementing the panel’s proposals.

He called on the transport authorities to initiate immediate pro-active steps to fix deficiencies to improve the country’s road transport system without much delay.

He noted that it had been over two years since the panel submitted its proposals to the Transport Ministry to improve the national road safety system holistically.

“Frequent pubic and commercial vehicle crashes are an indication of serious flaws and deficiencies in the road transport systems which have been ignored for too long.

“Vehicles speeding and losing control owing to brake failure has become a common news item these days.

“The authorities should act fast to stop road accidents,” Idris said today.

He cited recent cases of the runaway bus near the Menora Tunnel and the bus with tourists from China which overturned at Genting Highlands as most tragic examples that demanded urgent authoritive actions.

Vehicle crash is rapidly increasing in Malaysia.
Vehicle crash is rapidly increasing in Malaysia.

CAP wants the transport authorities to fully implement:

  • The 51 recommendations by the Genting Advisory Panel;
  • Proper management strategies for hilly terrain such as the speed limit and weight limit for vehicles;
  • Traffic calming devices and warning signs to slow down traffic suitable for hilly terrain;
  • Installation of speed limiters;
  • Fix suitable age limit for buses;
  • Ensure buses conform to UN Regulations for body construction and that seat belts are installed.
  • Ensure all operators of public transport implement ICOP SHE program which will ensure buses are tested before every trip

One of the recommendations of the Genting Highlands Advisory Panel was the implementation of proper management strategies suitable for hilly terrain.

This included the review and gazetting of speed limit and vehicle weight limit on hilly roads, including private roads with public access.

Appropriate traffic calming devices and warning signs were required to be installed to slow down vehicles and convey safety warning messages effectively.

“Have these been put in place?’ asked Idris.

Highway accidents are fast becoming a common sight.
Highway accidents are fast becoming a common sight.

He rapped the authorities of spending too much time flip-flopping on the decision to install either speed limiters or GPS in commercial and public vehicles to control speed.

After a long delay the decision was made recently, but Idris said many transport operators had yet to conform to the requirement.

“How long more do we need to wait for full conformance?” he asked.

Another issue is that vehicle users still failed to observe age limit for buses as many aged vehicles were on the roads like time bombs.

These vehicles, said Idris had potential for brake failure owing to fatigue, adding that old buses do not conform to UN regulations for body construction.

He said the plan to install seat belts in buses seemed to have been put in the back burner.

He said it was very doubtful that safety checks were made on buses before every trip as claimed by transport operators.

“If so who is ensuring that this procedure is being followed faithfully?”

A bus involved in an accident in a city motorway in Malaysia.
A bus involved in an accident in a city motorway in Malaysia.
Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.