AS a member of the National Road Safety Council I wish to propose four measures to enhance ongoing efforts to reduce road accidents and deaths in the country.
The four measures are:
1. The government should rely on education at the school level to create a new breed of motorists and motorcyclists who care for themselves and for others. In this connection, it should have a syllabus on road safety for schools to inculcate the need to practise good etiquette and behaviour on the road as well as to build a road safety culture.
2. The government needs to audit and identify all dangerous stretches of federal, state and municipal roads and take steps to rectify them and make them safe for all road users.
3. The government should consider introducing a “Drive Safe and Pay Less” scheme. Drivers who have undergone defensive driving courses could be allowed to pay a lower insurance premium for their vehicles. Defensive driving is vital for road safety.
4. Those who drive recklessly and end up killing people on the roads should face a mandatory jail sentence.
We view with utmost concern the frequent reports of road accidents, fatalities and injuries that are not only tragic for the families involved but also a loss to the nation’s workforce. Traffic-related crashes are one of the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths. Furthermore, commuting accidents also make up a significant percentage of industrial accidents reported to Socso (the Social Security Organisation) yearly.
Employers and employees must take cognisance of the serious road deaths numbering about 6,000 to 7,000 yearly – a large number for a small country like Malaysia – and be prepared to address the issue with a view towards reducing the number of road deaths.
In particular, employers have a duty to protect their employees and other road users by adopting the approach of “managing occupa-
tional road risk” to reduce business losses which arise from “at work” road accidents.
In this connection, employers have a role to play in developing and implementing comprehensive safety procedures and programmes for the workplace to reduce accidents, deaths and injuries, including providing training to their employees to be competent drivers and riders.
Measures to be taken by employers to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries of workers should include the following:
1. Establish a policy requiring drivers and motorcyclists to undergo safe driving and riding practices and proper use of vehicle safety features.
2. Conduct driver’s licence background checks on prospective drivers before they are hired.
3. Provide seat belts and other safety features in all employer-
4. Ensure that drivers and motorcyclists in their employment comply with designated speed limits on roadways.
5. Ensure proper maintenance of all vehicles owned by the company.
6. Ensure drivers observe speed limits and do not permit them to drive while fatigued.
7. Ensure that workers use appropriate barriers and traffic control efforts while work is being performed on the sides of roadways.
8. Conduct defensive driving and riding courses to minimise accidents.
9. Ensure drivers and riders do not use handphones while driving or riding on the roads.
10. Carry out random drug tests on all bus drivers to ensure the safety of passengers.
Employers have a moral obligation to adopt a proactive approach to manage occupational road risks. They should always review the road safety standards of their organisations.
Employers who take action to promote the safety of their staff while driving or riding will achieve major cost savings, improve their image, and make a significant contribution to meeting road safety targets.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
Member, Road Safety Council Malaysia
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