More deaths from this year's Deeparaya balik kampung

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 01 Nov 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Forty people died on the road on Sunday and Monday, pushing up the number of fatalities in the first five days of Ops Sikap IX to 80. 

Police also recorded 1,892 road accidents in the two days. 

The number of road deaths and mishaps increased this year, compared to the first five days of Ops Sikap VII launched during the last DeepaRaya season from Nov 7 to 21 last year when a total of 4,528 accidents with 64 deaths were recorded. 

“It all boils down to attitude,” said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.“There is nothing much that you can do if a driver wants to be reckless and does not follow advice for his own safety,” he told reporters after launching Star Publications’ Bahasa Malaysia website mSTAR Online at his office in Putrajaya on Monday. 

“Everybody needs to observe the law. First of all, the speed limit. Secondly, be courteous and thirdly, the old adage ‘Better late than never’,” he said. 

“In other countries you find the motorists very responsible. If you look from the air in these countries, the motorists travel in tandem, but if you fly over the highways in Malaysia, you will see people zigzagging. “They go all over the place. Change lanes, those in the fast lane drive slow, those in the slow lane drive fast. They do all kind of things.” 

He said the number of deaths per day averages 17. “That to me is very alarming because they were mostly youths,” he said.The high number of deaths from road accidents in the last two days is also making Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy very unhappy. 

“You are supposed to balik kampung to celebrate and your parents are waiting for your return. But what they eventually see is a dead body,” he told reporters yesterday after checking on how KL International Airport is handling the passenger load during this festive period. 

Chan said his ministry’s road safety campaigns had brought down the number of deaths for every 10,000 vehicles from 8.6 deaths several years ago to 4.5 last year.“Just imagine if we did not run any campaigns or deploy thousands of officers on the road ... the number could be higher. This year we expect the figure to be further reduced to about four deaths per day,” he said. 

On the proposal to temporarily compound the licence of those who committed serious road offences such as reckless driving, drunk driving and driving while high on drugs, Chan said amendments to the Road Transport Act would be tabled in Parliament in March.Road Safety Department director-general Suret Singh said 95% of accidents were caused by human errors. 

He said the eight golden rules that motorists should observe are: 

  • Plan your journey. If you are tired, sleepy, drunk or in an emotional state, postpone your trip.
  • Keep to the speed limit.
  • When changing lanes, signal or use your indicators. Check for traffic on your side mirrors and rear view mirror.
  • Comply with road regulations at intersections, especially at traffic light junctions.
  • Avoid tailgating.
  • Observe safety guidelines when overtaking. And never overtake when in doubt.
  • Don’t jump queue or abuse emergency lanes.
  • Avoid weaving through traffic.

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