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DRASTIC DIP: AES already making a difference in changing attitudes
PETALING JAYA: FOURTEEN cameras, three states, more than 79,000 summonses issued.
These are the numbers associated with the Automated Enforcement System (AES) so far. But it’s not the numbers that matter, at least not for the Road Transport Department (RTD), Road Safety Department (RSD) and Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), the triumvirate driving the implementation of the AES.
The most important number, just more than a month after the AES came into being, is that the number of images of offenders being captured (or summonses being issued) daily has taken a drastic dip.
Given that the cameras are located in “black spots”, or accident-prone areas, and are operational round the clock, the drop in the number of motorists being caught for speeding or beating traffic lights means there is less chance of an accident occurring.
What this translates into is that lives are being saved, which is the biggest concern of the authorities.
At some sites, the drop from the first week of implementation to the fifth week (up until Nov 4) is as much as 73 per cent (see graphics), and the "triumvirate" believes the figure can only get better.
RTD director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said yesterday his department, RSD and Miros had been keeping track of the system since it became operational on Sept 23.
He said once the AES had been implemented for six months, a comprehensive impact study would be conducted.
Indications were, however, that the system had already made an impact, judging from the dip in summonses issued.
"It's not that we want to issue summonses to these motorists. If no one speeds or beats the traffic lights (and we don't have to issue summonses), then it's great," Solah said at a briefing on the AES to Media Prima Bhd news organisations.
"The impact study will be done after six months, which is less than most other countries which carry out their studies after three years."
The aim of AES, he said, was to change the attitude of drivers in the areas where cameras were located.
Miros director-general Professor Dr Wong Shaw Voon said when motorists changed their attitudes, over time, they changed their attitudes wherever they were driving.
At present, there are 14 cameras in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Perak. The authorities plan to install cameras at another 817 black spots, 561 of which will be speed cameras while the remainder will be at traffic lights.
The departments have been studying the use of AES since 2004. Parts of the system are in use in more than 90 countries.
Wong said the move to install AES cameras was an important measure.
"Studies have been projected that if we do nothing, by 2020 we will have more than 10,000 road deaths a year. So this is the step we are taking."
Last year, there were 6,877 road fatalities. In 2010, there were also more than 6,000 deaths.
On education, RSD director-general Leslie Leon said while classes on road safety were being taught in primary schools for several years now, these had been expanded to Form One this year.
Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yesterday announced that the Selangor government would not allow the AES system to be enforced in the state.
This followed a meeting between state government officials and Solah on Thursday, in which Khalid said he was not convinced that the AES was the best way to solve the problem of high road accidents and deaths.
Solah took Khalid to task.
"To me, (Khalid) just refuses to understand... (he) would like to understand it (only) from his angle and interest."