Monday, March 7, 2011

Brake harder on traffic offenders

Malaysian motorists seem to have got their priorities wrong when it comes to settling their traffic summonses. They have no qualms throwing money on obtaining licence plates of their choice but have a problem when it comes to forking out money to pay traffic summonses.
The recent display of the “tidak apa” attitude of Malaysian motorists came to light when, despite the grace period which began on Aug 12 last year and a 50% discount given to traffic offenders to settle their dues, 17.3 million summonses have yet to be paid after the deadline lapsed on Feb 28, this year.
During the initial discount period, 5.5 million summonses were paid including the 1.5 million that were settled in the past week.
Responding to pleas from traffic defaulters for an extension, the Cabinet agreed to extend the grace period with the 50% discount to March 10. Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the government was aware that many motorists could not settle their summonses due to the long queues, insufficient counters and overloaded computer system.
While the March 10 extension comes as a relief to the traffic offenders, what, however, must change is their attitude in disregarding summonses received until the eleventh hour and that too when the Road Transport Department (RTD) made it clear that those who continue to ignore their summonses would have their names blacklisted, preventing them from renewing their driving licence and road tax.
That news and the looming deadline resulted in the defaulters storming post offices which stayed opened until midnight to attend to the last-minute payment of summonses.
It is apparent that Malaysian motorists, many who are known for their notoriety once they get behind the wheel, take the law for granted, assuming the worse will not happen should they ignore the summonses received.
Realising the apathy shown by motorists, RTD decided to “get down to business” through its ultimatum of blacklisting defaulters. While that, to an extent, helped get the offenders to settle their summonses, there still remains the 17.3 million unpaid summonses.
Don’t mollycoodle offenders
In December last year, Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha said RTD had no plans to extend the grace period given to blacklisted traffic offenders to renew their road tax and licence by Feb 28, 2011.
Why then did Hishammuddin announce an extension? Is this the Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s ploy to win public support and hopefully their votes come the 13th general election?
Kong had also said the RTD had no plans to emulate the police in providing discount to traffic offenders to get them to promptly settle their dues.
If the offenders take the law for granted it is because they are being mollycoddled by the very law that is supposed to send home the message that rules are to be obeyed, not taken for granted and messed with.
However, in December 2009, the RTD gave a 30% discount to traffic offenders who made prompt settlement of their summonses.
RTD deputy director-general Rohaizah Mohamad Rashid had said the discount was applicable to motorists who made payments within 15 days of the date of the summons and a 15% discount before 30 days. Those who paid their fines after 30 days would have to pay the full amount.
The law must do its job
A total of 18 million summonses for traffic offences issued by the police, RTD and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) from 2000 to 2009 remained unsettled.
RTD director-general Solah Mat Hassan had said of the figure, 15.6 million were summonses issued by the police, 1.8 million by DBKL and 608,070 by RTD.
Solah said between Feb 11 and 17, only 1,227 RTD summonses were settled while for the police and DBKL, the numbers were 113,447 and 35 respectively.
What does this show? It tells that Malaysian motorists have become complaisant with the law. The blame here should be proportioned to both the errant motorists as well as the government for playing politics and not standing its ground in getting the defaulters to settle their summonses.
The government should stop sending home the message that traffic offences are lesser crimes by virtue of the discount given and should strictly let the law do its job.
Was the 50% discount necessary? If the law has been disrespected, should the perpetrators not be punished according to the law? Why the move to spoil them by providing a discount and that too for traffic offences?
(According to Works Ministry’s Highway Planning Unit – Road Safety Section – traffic accidents in Malaysia increased at an average rate of 9.7% per annum over the last three decades. The total number of road accidents had increased from 24,581 in 1974 to 328,264 in 2005, representing a more than 135% increase in accident cases over 30 years. The number of fatalities – death within 30 days after accident – also increased but at a slower rate, compared to total road accidents from 2,303 in 1974 to 6,200 in 2005.)
Even after offering a 50% discount and a decent grace period, the traffic offenders were still indifferent in wanting to settle their summonses on time. Why?
Beginning March 1 this year, the new compound rates for settling traffic summonses came into force and are uniformly applied by the above three agencies. The rates apply for offences committed from March 1 whereas the old rates introduced in 2007 apply for summonses issued prior to March 1, 2011.
Solah said that under the amended Road Transport Act, offenders who failed to settle their summonses within the stipulated would be blacklisted by RTD and the police. As for the DBKL and other enforcement agencies involved, a blacklisting mechanism has yet to be determined.
Prior to this, Kong had announced a new structure for settling fines for traffic summonses whereby offenders who paid up their summonses quickly would pay less and those who settled them late would face stiffer fines.
Motorists must be re-educated
It is not the discount that is going to help change the mindset of the motorists but a paradigm shift which must take place to produce responsible and accountable motorists.
The re-education of the Malaysian motorists has to start now, to assure road users in general that Malaysian motorists are no devils behind the wheel, flouting traffic rules at their convenience.
In this regard, the law must strictly be adhered to, with no room for “privileges” like discounts to get traffic defaulters to settle their arrears. Is Malaysia the only country in the world which offers discounts to traffic defaulters and yet fails to get them all to pay up within the stipulated grace period?
It is dangerous if there is a “lacuna” where the errant motorists go home under the impression that traffic laws can be “bought” over. If the trend of offering discount continues, there is no denying that the quality of motorists on the road is only going to continue to deteriorate.

Six family members die in road accident

PEKAN, June 8 — Six members of a family died when the Proton Iswara car they were travelling in collided with a trailer at KM78 along the Kuantan-Segamat road near Pekan, at 8.45 last night.
Pekan Deputy OCPD, DSP Amran Sidek said those who died in the tragedy were the car driver, Norfaizah Mansor, 31, her four children Norsyahira Atika Saudi, 13, Norsufia Saudi, 10, Norsuhaila Saudi, seven, and Mohd Shahrul Amir Saudi, three, as well as Norfaizah’s younger brother, Mohd Saiful Anwar Mansor, 14.
Amran said all the victims were returning home to Pekan after visiting Norfaizah’s parents in Keratong 2, Rompin when the accident happened.
“Upon reaching the scene of the accident near Kampung Runchang, the Proton Iswara, which was coming from the direction of Segamat, tried to overtake the vehicle in front but failed and collided with a trailer coming from the opposite direction,” he told reporters, here today.
Amran said both vehicles failed to avoid a collision, resulting in the Proton Iswara ending up under the trailer.
He said all the victims died on the spot due to serious injuries on the head and chest while the 44-year-old trailer driver and his wife, 43, suffered minor leg injuries.
He said the case was being investigated under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act.
Meanwhile, Norfaizah’s father, Mansor Hamid, 55, said he did not expect that his children’s and grandchildren’s visit would end up in such tragedy.
“Normally, the youngest grandchild would not follow the mother back to Pekan, but this time, everyone wanted to go back,” said Mansor who came to know of the tragedy at 11pm and immediately rushed to the scene.
Norfaizah’s mother, Arfah Sulung, 54, said her daughter came home with her younger brother and children because she wanted to meet her husband, who works in Bukit Ibam, Muadzam Shah.
“My son-in-law had planned to take my daughter and their children to Melaka on a vacation during the school holidays,” she said. — Bernama

Accidents cost Malaysia RM9.3bil

SHAH ALAM: Malaysia is paying a heavy price due to road accidents, and the cost to the economy last year was about RM9.3bil, Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said.
“The massive loss was calculated taking into account various aspects, including insurance payout, medical costs and productivity loss due to permanent disability resulting from road accidents,” he said.
Once the road users, especially motorcyclists, changed their mindset and became more disciplined in road usage, the country could save the RM9bil which amounted to 1.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said at the safety and health campaign on roads and at the workplace organised by Proton Holdings Berhad at its headquarters here on Wednesday.
The event was launched by Proton Group Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir.
Suret said his department had helped to reduce the road accident injury rate by 42% over the last five years.
“The department has also reduced the road accident fatality rate to 3.55% now compared with 4.3% five years ago,” he said, adding that 6,745 people died in road accidents last year.
He said many fatality and injury cases due to road accidents involved motorcyclists, and added that the figure could be reduced if motorcyclists followed traffic rules and fastened safety helmets properly.-Bernama

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Malaysia : Road Accidents Statistic 2000-2006

Below here is the data from year 2000 to 2006:
Year     Population       Vehicle           Road            Road            Road
                                Registered     Accidents      Casualties     Deaths
2000    23263600    10598804     250429         50200         6035
2001    23795300    11302545     265175         50473         5849
2002    24526500    12068144     279711         49552         5891
2003    25048300    12868934     298653         52741         6286
2004    25580000    13828889     326815         54091         6228
2005    26130000    14816407     328264         47012         6200
2006    26640000    15790732     341252         35425         6287
By a quick look, number of road accidents and deaths increase steadily while road casualties (injured + death) fluctuates throughout year 2000 to 2006. However, in order to make the data such as road accidents or road deaths more meaningful and comparative, the data will be normalized against: a) Malaysia population for that year of occurence, b) Total number of vehicle registered. The normalization of these data is shown in the 2 graphs as below:
a) Normalization by population:

From the graph, the number of road accidents per 1000 population increase steadily from 10.8 cases in year 2000 to 12.8 cases, an 18.5% increase. On the other hand, the road casualties per 1000 pop. decreases from 2.16 casualties (2000) to 1.33 casualties (2006). The same downward trend is also seen on road deaths per 100 000 pop.: year 2000 recorded 25.9 road deaths for every 100 000 population and seeing a small decrease to 23.6 deaths per 100 000 pop. in year 2006. Although the road deaths is seeing a decrement over the years, it is also remindful to compare it to OECD countries like here: apparently the road deaths in Malaysia decreasing slowly, but it is not good enough. The closest country which has the same traffic accident fatalities like Malaysia is Greece, by the number 14.6 persons per 100 000 pop.
b) Normalization by vehicle registered:

An increment in overall population does not neccesarily mean there will be more vehicle ownership. However for Malaysia case, vehicle ownership (per 1000 pop.) increase steadily from 492 (2000) to 593 (2006): there are more and more people owning the vehicle. From the graph above, we are seeing the number of road accidents per 1000 vehicles decrease over the years: 56.9 accidents to 39.8 accidents per 1000 vehicle. By superficial look, I am tempted to say that an increase in road vehicle does not neccessarily increase the likelihood of more death caused by road accidents. Another side evidence also pointing into the same direction: the number of registered vehicle increase from 10.6 millions to 15.8 million (2000 to 2006, equivalent to 48.99%) while number of deaths shows small increment – 6035 to 6287 deaths in 206 (+4.18%).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teenager Car Accident Statistics – What You, As a Parent, Must Know

Teenager car accident statistics are frightening. It is no surprise that parents are often a nervous wreck when the time comes for their teen to get their driver’s license. The statistics show some very devastating trends involving teen drivers. By looking at the statistics, a parent and others involved with teen drivers can more easily see what they need to do to prevent further teen car accidents.
Basic National Statistics
There are plenty of statistics that point to the dangers of teen driving. In the category of teen drivers are those between the ages of 15 and 20. In 2004, over 7,000 teenagers were killed in car accidents. These teen drivers accounted for almost 13 percent of all drivers in fatal car accidents in 2006.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that the cost of teenager car accidents is over $40 billion a year.
During the first 500 miles that a teenager drives, crashes are 10 times more likely than for an adult driver. Teen drivers make up about 7 percent of licensed drivers, but they account for 14 percent of the fatalities in accidents. Of teen driver deaths, over 50 percent occur on the weekend. Motor vehicle death is the number one cause of death for teenagers.
What Has Been Learned
From statistics much helpful information has been learned that can be used to prevent future teenager car accidents. For instance, since it has been shown that newly licensed drivers of age 16 are the group that has the highest accident rate, many states have started a graduated licensing program. These programs require a variety of different steps of learning and training that must be completed before a driver is fully licensed. Graduated drivers license programs have helped to lower teenage car accident rates by almost 7 % from the time between 1995 to 2005.
Other statistics have helped increase the knowledge of the importance of education for teen drivers about issues regarding seat belts and drinking and driving. The statistics show that two-thirds of teenage fatalities in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt. Additionally one-third of teen accidents involved alcohol. With increased education about wearing seat belts and drinking and driving there is hope of lowering those numbers.
There are other statistics that have been able to give insight into what makes teen drivers so prone to car accidents. The Allstate Foundation did a survey in 2005 and found that half of teen drivers use their cell phone while driving. Cell phones have been shown to be very distracting to a driver and has been named as a leading cause of car accidents. This survey also found that speeding is prominent among teen drivers.
The results of this survey and the other statistics show that parents and educators need to be more strict in what they teach teen drivers. Teen drivers need to be alerted tot he risks of distracted driving and the risks of speeding. There needs to be an increase of education and more standards in place to assure that teen drivers stop making the same mistakes that have lead to teenager car accidents.

6 Main Causes Of Accidents In Malaysia

he Chinese have many beliefs. It is believed mankind at birth has to go through the hands of a “Registrar of Births”. Likewise, upon a person’s demise, he has to pass through the hands of the “Registrar of Deaths”.
Once, a driver was late for his appointment, very late in fact, in his anxiety to reach his scheduled appointment, unfortunately he met an accident and died. When his soul reached the “Registrar of Deaths”, the Registrar commented “this man is reporting to me 85 years too early. He should be reporting only in 2085, not now”.
The “maxim” of this story is simply this. It is better to be late 5 minutes in this world, than to be reporting 85 years too early in the next world.
My English teachers related this story to me when I was in lower secondary classes. Until today, the story remains vividly in my mind.
Next, lets move on to the topic of today, which is about the 6 main causes of accidents in Malaysia.

1) The driver.

Drivers can end up being the main cause. Those who are tired, sleepy and feeling emotional should in fact not be driving at all. Likewise, those who have consumed alcohol and drugs should also abstain from driving as well.
Those on medication shouldn’t drive also. Drivers should refrain from overtaking at dangerous places. Try to be patient and understanding while driving.
And finally, attempt to follow road rules and regulations always.

2) Condition of the roads.

Road conditions contribute a great deal towards causing accidents. How fast we drive should commensurate with road conditions.
Reduce speed if it’s raining and roads are slippery. Raining also causes “hydroplaning”, which is extremely dangerous.
Tyre conditions and brakes play a major role in determining how fast we should drive in the rain.

3) Condition of the car.

Another factor which can cause accidents is the condition of the car itself. The brakes, lights, signals lights and horn all have to be checked, not forgetting tyre and wipers too. Ensure also that seat belts are worn too.

4) The weather condition.

Rain and sometimes heavy fog and dew, especially during early morning and late evening have been reported as being causes for many accidents. Try coming down in the middle of the night from Genting Highlands Resort and you’ll surely know what I mean.

5) Strong light reflections.

Reflections from the sun and head lights from on coming cars have been reported as being causes of many accidents. The latest white and blinding headlights now currently being used by many vehicles, is yet another source of accidents.

6) The traffic.

When roads are congested, more accidents tend to happen. Rush hours, like early mornings, lunch hours and dismissal times are most likely for accidents to happen.
So be extra careful during these times. Accidents tend to happen in places such as schools, factory areas and shopping centres too.
While going back for Raya celebration, Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Christmas celebrations, traffic is extremely heavy and congested. Be careful and you should have no problem reaching home safely!

Road accident kills 12, injures 73 in Malaysia

A road accident that happened on the North-South Expressway connecting the northern and southern parts of Peninsula Malaysia killed at least 12 people and injured 73 others on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

According to several members of the rescue team, the tragedy took place at about 6:45 p.m. local time, causing massive jam on the road.

The actual scene was located near the Rembau district in Negeri Sembilan, a state in the central part of west coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

A total of twelve ambulances were dispatched to the scene, bringing the dead and the injured to three different hospitals in the states of Negeri Sembilan and Malacca in the southern part of the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

Mohd Khalil Yaakob, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, or Governor, of the state of Malacca, Malacca State police chief and state assembly speaker visited the injured victims at the Malacca Hospital late Sunday night.

A coordinator briefed the state leaders that a total of 85 people were affected in the accident. While 12 had died, the rest suffered different levels of injuries, added the coordinator.

He also said that of the 11 victims admitted into the Malacca Hospital, four were in serious condition, including a pregnant mother.

Police told reporters that an express bus belonging to the Malaysian Welfare Department, three cars and a van were involved in the accident.

The police also said that the identities of the victims were not immediately known.

When met at a hospital here, some rescue team members told reporters that the bumper-to-bumper congestion had obstructed the way of several ambulances rushing to the scene.

They said that by looking at the vehicles' conditions involved in the accident, it was believed that the bus ferrying tens of passengers had lost control on the highway and rammed into the divider.

The strong collision forced the bus into the opposite lanes, causing it to plough with four other vehicles.

However, the police were investigating if the accident was due to the reckless driving by the bus driver, or the technical and engine faults of the vehicle, said the rescuers.

A spokesman from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department said that the bus collided with a car and overturned after hitting another bus.

The driver of the car trapped under the bus that turned turtle died on the spot, while another van, trying to avoid the express bus, crashed into a car, killing also the van driver immediately