PETALING JAYA: Road accidents cost Malaysia an estimated RM9.21bil last year, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Based on the latest report from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), the Transport Minister said this was an increase of RM581.3mil compared with 2015.
"We take this very seriously. Malaysia must have a safety culture not just in factories but on the roads as well," Liow said at a press conference after a radio interview with 988 and Suria FM on Thursday.
Miros estimates that a death cause the country an average of RM1.2mil, RM120,000 for severe injury and RM12,000 for light injury in medical cost, productivity loss and other payouts.
Liow said 7,152 people were killed in 521,466 road accidents last year.
The death rate due to road accidents rose slightly to 2.59 person for every 10,000 registered vehicles last year compared with 2.55 in 2015.
Liow said his ministry is planning to hire the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to conduct an in-depth study to improve road safety in Malaysia.
Last year, JICA carried out a traffic study on three Asean countries, namely Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand.
It reported that Malaysia had a relatively high traffic crash rate per owned vehicle, likely due to the high number of motorcycles on the road.
Liow said his ministry had carried out many campaigns to improve road safety for motorcyclists such as encouraging them to wear reflective jackets and conducting spot checks to ensure they wear helmets.
However, he said cooperation from all stakeholders was needed for the government to achieve the target of reducing the death rate for every 10,000 registered vehicle to 2.0 person in 2020.