KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 -- Although the number of road accidents has risen, no thanks to the rising number of vehicles on the road, in terms of road fatalities the numbers have come down by an average of five per cent annually since 2017.
Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) Safe Kids Malaysia executive director Associate Prof Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani said hence Malaysia is on the right track in halving road deaths by 2030, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN).
“We should reach a 50 per cent reduction in road fatalities if we can maintain or improve the reduction numbers we have now for the next 10 years,” he said when speaking as a guest on Bernama TV's talkshow - The Nation: Safe Travel During CMCO: What Can We Do?
On the rise in road accidents, he said it is due to the increase in the number of privately owned vehicles, which is almost 30 million now with more than half being motorcycles that were at greater risk especially when they are less visible to other road users.
“For every 55 seconds that goes by, one road accident occurs in this country. We have 30 million private vehicles for a population of about 32 million, what more there is a propensity to use our own vehicles than using public transport,” said Kulanthayan, a lecturer at UPM's Community Health Department, at the Medical and Health Science Faculty.
He said to check road accidents, there should be a shift from private vehicles to public transport to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
On the 70 per cent reduction in accident numbers recorded by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) during the first month of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that started on March 18, Kulanthayan said the number was not good enough.
"I would have expected a 90 per cent reduction of road accidents during then, which did not happen,” he said, adding that ideally it should be the case due to fewer vehicles on the road but deserted roads prompted drivers to hit high speeds.
Acknowledging that with the coming Hari Raya holidays more vehicles would be on the road despite the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), he urged road users to reduce the speed of their vehicles as it could save lives, and also to fully adopt the road safety measures available.
“Keep in mind that if you crash while going at 90km/h, it is equivalent to falling from a 10-storey building, with the probability of survival very low. So reduce your speed to lessen the risk of a fatal accident and make use of the seat belts for everyone in the vehicle”, he added.
Safe Kids Malaysia is dedicated to improving the lives of children through injury prevention.
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