PETALING JAYA: The road rage incident which caused the death of Syed Muhammad Danial Syed Shakir should have never happened, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The Alliance for a Safe Community chairman said in a statement on Friday (Dec 8) that the motorists should remain calm and avoid aggressive behaviours while on the road at all time.
Below is his statement in full.
In the report in the Star media today of a road rage incident that caused the death of a motorist, there is a lesson for all of us.
In that case that happened in August more than four years ago, the other motorist was found guilty of causing the death and was sentenced to 16 years in jail.
The stark lesson from this tragic event is that we must always remain calm while driving on the roads even under the most trying circumstances.
The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), conducts regular surveys on road safety issues including road rage incidents.
In a few surveys, it was found that 63 per cent of Malaysian drivers admitted to experiencing road rage or aggressive behaviour on the road in the past year, and that road rage-related offences accounted for approximately 15 per cent of all traffic violations in the last year.
Several factors contribute to this phenomenon.
Traffic congestion is one. In our vibrant cities, it is common to see commuters stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, causing them to become irritable and prone to road rage.
In such cases, patience is a rare commodity.
Drivers who are in a hurry may become agitated by even the slightest delay on the road.
The anonymity of being inside a vehicle can lead to dehumanisation.
Drivers may forget that the person in the other car is also a fellow human being, thus leading to rude behaviour.
Some motorists treat the road like a race track.
Such aggressive behaviour can easily escalate into road rage incidents.
Experiencing or perpetrating road rage can lead to chronic stress, which in turn can affect one’s physical and mental health.
Engaging in road rage can result in fines, license suspensions or even jail, as in the most recent case.
While we need harsher penalties for road bullies and stricter road traffic regulations and enforcement, there are also other softer ways to help motorists temper their behaviour on the highways and byways.
Drivers should be encouraged to practice deep breathing, listen to calming music, or use mindfulness techniques to cope with traffic stress.
There should be public awareness campaigns to promote courteous driving.
Also, there should be more investments in infrastructure and public transportation that can reduce congestion and frustration.
Finally, we should not take the law into our own hands as the consequences can be dire as clearly evidenced in the most recent court case.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
Alliance for a Safe Community chairman