BUTTERWORTH: The next time you notice a van being driven around with three close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on its roof, do not be alarmed.
It is not the police trying to nab traffic offenders.
Those in the van are actually studying Malaysian roads by making video recordings, documenting and evaluating the safety features on selected highways, trunk roads and state roads.
Initiated by the Road Safety Department, the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP Malaysia) will cover 3,000km of roads in the country.
The nine-week long programme is jointly organised by ARRB Group (formerly known as the Australian Road Research Board), the Malaysian Institute for Road Safety Research (Miros) and Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM).
AAM road safety committee member Ahmed Ismail Amin said that since the programme's launch in Putrajaya on March 14, the survey team had covered a stretch of 1,000km.
“The survey is to identify the safety hazards along these stretches and give them star ratings.
“Some roads do not have proper pedestrian crossing, safety railings or traffic lights. Some roads are accident-prone because lampposts and trees on these stretches block the view of motorists,” he said.
AARB technical officer Paul Van Damme said ratings would be given based on 30 common road hazards. One star means that the road has very poor safety features while a four-star rating indicates that it has very good safety features.
Van Damme said he and three other colleagues – Rob McInerne, Richard Wix and Joseph Assum – would take about a month to prepare a report on their findings that would be presented to the Road Engineering Association of Malaysia.
State Road Safety Department director Noormazura Mat Nawi said Malaysia was the first Asian country chosen for the iRAP programme, adding that the programme had been carried out in Europe and Australia.
Similar pilot studies, she said, were being conducted in Costa Rica, Chile and South Africa.
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