PETALING JAYA: Guardrails and road dividers made of steel can turn into sharp knives in a road accident, said Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).
The suitability of these guardrails and dividers must be reviewed to ensure the safety of road users and minimise injuries to accident victims, he said.
Lee said the authorities and highway concessionaires should conduct a thorough audit on these road barriers to comply with the specifications set by experts, including the Road Engineering Association of Malaysia.
“They also need to learn the latest technology and installation techniques of road barriers that prove to be effective overseas, especially in countries with low road crash fatalities and injuries such as Monaco, Sweden and the United Kingdom,” he noted.
“For example, the installation of a 130m rolling road safety barrier at Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang Airport was reported to have reduced road accidents by 94% within six months from December 2016.
“With such a positive result, the rolling road safety barrier should be recommended for implementation in various parts of the country,” he said.
At the same time, he said that existing guardrails and road dividers must be regularly maintained.
Lee’s statement comes amid a recent spate of road accidents where the vehicles crashed into road dividers.
These cases have raised concern among road users due to the seriousness of the injuries and deaths.
In the latest incident on Sept 2, two people, including a Universiti Teknologi Mara student, were killed when a double-decker bus crashed into a steel road divider in Jalan Ipoh-Lumut near Batu Gajah, Perak, Lee said.
On Aug 27, a passenger was killed and another two were injured when a car crashed into a guardrail in Jalan Salor-Pasir Mas, Kelantan, while on Aug 25, two people were killed and five injured after their vehicle skidded and rammed into a road barrier in Jalan Chini-Terapai, Pahang.
“The main purpose of guardrails and road dividers is to prevent vehicles from veering off the road and crashing into other vehicles or dangerous objects such as a tree, pole and boulder; or plunging into a drain, steep slope and body of water.
“But in some cases, the victims were killed or seriously injured when their vehicle crashed into the guardrail or road barrier.
“Freak accidents sometimes occurred when the steel guardrail or road barrier penetrated through the body or windscreen of the vehicles,” he said.