By Ahmad Faizuddin
Malaysia faces a fairly high death toll of road vehicles as developed countries. It is no great surprise due to some people getting used to ignoring the rules of the road. Like most of Asian countries, motorcyclists contributed to most of the accidents. Young people, especially, have tendency speed.
The current rules are quite strict. The process goes from basic driving course (KPP 01), passing computer test to getting licence L (Learning), practical (KPP 02: routine vehicle checking – RPK, routine before driving – RSM, and parking), practical (KPP 03: highway), pre-test, and official test.
In short, people need to take a driving test and they cannot drive on the road except with an approved instructor during the learning period. In addition to passing written and practical tests, drivers need to show a “P” (provisional) sticker on their vehicles for two years.
The highways in Malaysia are excellent and signs are frequent. It follows the British driving system in which steering wheels on the right and driving on the left. Although most people drive a little faster, the actual limited speed is 50 to 70 km/hour in town and up to 110 km/hour on highways.
Not long ago, I received my driving licence from the Road Transport Department (JPJ). I still remember an advice given by the teacher during the driving course (KPP 01). He said that we could make mistakes in cooking, singing and other things for we can re-cook and re-sing. But it is a totally different story for “life”. It cannot be “re-life”. The JPJ officer gave a similar advice prior to taking the driving test. Put safety first above all others.
However, most people put aside what they have learnt and taught during the driving-learning process. The actual driving seems a whole new different practice. Drivers do not always respect traffic regulations. Abrupt lane changes are common. Some drivers also rarely use their light signals. Thus, it is advised to stay alert at all times. Sometimes it is worth taking public transportation since traffic jams are very common.
How safe is driving?
We might question how safe it is to drive in big cities like Kuala Lumpur. Driving in the city is in fact not for the faint-hearted. The road safety is indeed the responsibility of all drivers. Every road user should display positive driving behaviour for accidents can happen at any time and at any cost. We must practice the values of patience, tolerance and respecting each other especially during traffic jams. Safety is a serious business so let’s be safe.
It was reported that road accident fatalities increased significantly from year to year. There were about 489,606 and 521,466 road accidents in 2015 and 2016 respectively. It resulted in 6,706 deaths in 2015 and increased to 7,152 casualties in 2016.
It is good news that the Road Safety Department (JKJR) will introduce a new Road Safety Education (PKJR) module at all primary schools by 2019 from Standard One to Standard Six pupils. This module of safety guidelines will be inserted in the Bahasa Malaysia subject and taught for two hours a week. By 2020, the road safety component will be expanded to secondary schools.
Public awareness on safety driving
According to JKJR, around 500,000 new licence holders are registered every year and many of them are just completing Form Five when they reach 18 years old as the minimum eligible age to drive. While 1.2 million new cars are registered annually, public awareness over road safety needs to be increased systematically. The campaigns and public awareness are important because 80 per cent of road accidents are caused by negligence of its users.
Punishing drivers is not always a good measure to reduce accidents. For that reason, the JPJ should conduct more campaigns to raise drivers’ awareness to keep to the speed limit. Education and advocacy is the way forward to create people’s awareness to reduce road accidents. ***
Photo credit to Drivesafe.com