KUALA LUMPUR: Public transport operators need to adopt a proactive approach to prevent tragedies on the road, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).
The Alliance for a Safe Community founder and chairman said in a statement on Wednesday (April 26) that employers have a moral obligation to adopt a proactive approach to managing occupational road risk.
"Employers should do all that is reasonably practical to ensure the safety of their passengers and the public," said Lee.
"This will help meet the national road safety target to bring Malaysia’s road fatality rate down by 40% within the next five years and help reduce the current rate of 4.9 deaths per 10,000 vehicles," he added.
Lee said employers must ensure the use of safe vehicles, provide training to prevent road accidents and that drivers with bad records are kept away from the wheel.
He added that employers have a duty to protect their employees and other road users by adopting the approach of managing road risk in order to control significant business losses.
"These arise from ‘at work’ road accidents, including not only direct accident costs, but lost staff time, higher insurance premiums and poor public image," said Lee.
"Unless an organisation has a planned approach towards managing occupational road risk and is monitoring what it is doing, accidents will occur and innocent lives will be lost on our roads," he added.
Lee said that in these instances, resources which would otherwise be profitably utilised for the business will have to be spent on dealing with the aftermath of accidents.
He added that employers can address the problem of tragic road accidents by establishing a written policy requiring drivers and motorcyclists to undergo safe driving practices, proper use of vehicle safety features and mandatory refresher courses.
Lee then said that employers should conduct background checks on the drivers they are considering hiring, especially when it comes to drug offences.
"They need to ensure that their drivers comply with designated speed limits on roadways and other traffic regulations. Written procedures in respect of proper maintenance of all vehicles owned by the employers need to be established as well," he said.
Lee said there needs to be schedules that allow drivers to follow speed limits and limit their hours of service according to the set regulations.
"Do not permit workers to drive while fatigued," he stressed, emphasising on the importance of adequate and proper safety training for employees.
Lee said apart from the employees, the employers stand to benefit from a safe working environment as it not only reduces loss of man-hours and cost, but increases productivity and profitability while enhancing the image of the company.