Driving the message home

WITH Hari Raya around the corner and “balik kampung” traffic expected to hit the roads soon, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) is currently carrying out its road safety operation in conjunction with the festive season.

Ops Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which started yesterday and ends on July 25, aims to keep the roads safe through monitoring, inspections and enforcement.

It was interesting to hear state JPJ director Ibrahim Othman say that maximum fines will be issued to traffic offenders during the operation.

In addition, he said undercover JPJ teams armed with cameras will be on duty at various locations to snap pictures of traffic violations.

“There will be undercover teams at traffic lights, for example, and anyone who does not obey the lights will have their picture taken. They will then be called to our office for questioning and action will be taken against them if they are found to be guilty,” he told reporters after launching a road safety campaign by the Kuching Bicycle and Motor Traders Association on Thursday.

Ibrahim also cautioned motorists to obey traffic regulations and to be considerate on the road.

“Don’t speed. Follow the traffic lights. Don’t cross double lines, don’t use handphones, don’t smoke and don’t be careless while driving.

“Be patient. A lot of accidents happen because people are impatient and in a rush. So let’s be considerate to other road users. Everyone wants to ‘balik kampung’ quickly, so we should consider each other and don’t be selfish.”

He also highlighted a habit motorists have of driving in the right lane, making it inconvenient for others to overtake.

“Some motorists don’t like to drive on the left lane. But by right the right lane is for overtaking only,” he said.

These are all pertinent points which I’m sure most motorists in Kuching will recognise.

Driving in the city can be incredibly stressful, not just because of the growing congestion during peak hours but the bad habits and attitude displayed by many motorists.

Traffic regulations are often blatantly flouted to the frustration, if not danger, of other road users.

Going through red lights, cutting across double lines, stopping in yellow boxes and tailgating, to name a few.

Add to that the lack of courtesy and consideration for others, such as weaving in and out of traffic, jumping the queue, not using indicators and refusing to give way, and it’s no wonder driving to work or back home is often not a smooth ride.

State Road Safety Department director Davina Agnes Enteli pointed out that motorists’ attitude was important in preventing road accidents and fatalities.

According to her, every day 50 accidents occur on Sarawak’s roads with one to two deaths.

“Although the fatality rate from road accidents in Malaysia decreased last year, in Sarawak we have still not reduced it to what we would like.

“The ideal is zero fatality but we will not be able to achieve this if road users do not obey traffic regulations. Vehicles must be in good condition but motorists must also be in good condition to drive,” she said.

Going by what Ibrahim said, I hope JPJ is taking enforcement seriously and will not let anyone off the hook if they are caught violating traffic regulations.

More importantly, strict enforcement should not only take place during festive season operations but all the time, if we are serious about making our roads safer.

It’s high time motorists get the message that flouting traffic laws is not acceptable. And the sooner we learn to be courteous and respect one another on the road, the safer and less stressful it will be to drive.

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Opinion , East Malaysia , ling


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