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ROAD SAFETY: Put impatience on hold when driving
I T is easy to talk about safety but is everyone committed to it? Very often, safety does not mean a thing until a tragedy strikes, by which time, it is too late to make amends.
Despite numerous road safety campaigns and publicity programmes, road tragedies still continue to occur with children and young ones in their prime being "massacred" on the roads.
What is even more tragic is when an entire family is wiped out in a fatal crash. The pain, suffering and agony in any tragedy is just too hard to bear, especially by loved ones.
Statistics revealed by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research indicated that 265,175 road accidents were reported in 2001 compared with 449,040 last year, while in respect of road deaths, the figures had increased from 5,849 cases in 2001 to 6,877 last year.
Road accidents are avoidable if one truly cares for road safety and values one's life and that of loved ones.
Many drivers are aware of the many road safety campaigns; they realise the hazards on the road, yet they react differently when they are driving -- putting their lives and others at risk when they treat our expressways and roads as Formula 1 race tracks. The thought of safety is absent when they are on the road. They forget they must take due care of themselves, their loved ones and other road users.
It is this attitude that must be changed if we want to see fewer accidents -- the attitude of impatience and "haste culture", speeding and weaving in and out of traffic lanes. This is one of the major contributing factors to road accidents.
The fact is that there are people who have not learnt from the gruesome pictures of mangled vehicles, dead bodies, groaning victims and their grieving families. Road safety campaigns, though necessary, would not work unless road users learn to observe basic rules on safety and courtesy and change their irresponsible and cavalier attitude while on the roads.
Poor road conditions and shortcomings in road engineering and construction may cause accidents and this has to be addressed by the relevant authorities.
The nation loses an estimated RM9 billion annually to road accidents through repairs, insurance and medical bills. It has been identified through studies that more than half of road accidents involved those between the ages of 18 and 40 who make up the most important asset in the nation.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health views with utmost concern the frequent reports of road accidents, fatalities and injuries which are not only tragic to the families involved but also a loss to the nation's workforce.
Traffic-related motor vehicle crashes is one of the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths. Furthermore, commuting accidents also make up a significant percentage of industrial accidents reported to Socso yearly.
According to Socso, the total number of commuting accidents reported yearly had been increasing and it went from 22,040 cases in 2010 to 24,809 last year, an increase of 12.6 per cent.
Employers and employees must take cognisance of these serious statistics and be prepared to address the issue with a view towards reducing the number of commuting accidents. In particular, employers have a duty to protect their employees and other road users by adopting the approach of managing occupational road risk in order to reduce business losses which arise from "at work" road accidents.
In this connection, employers have a role to play in developing and implementing comprehensive safety procedures and programmes for the workplace to reduce accidents, deaths and injuries, including providing training to their employees to be competent drivers and riders.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Niosh chairman