KUALA LUMPUR: The Transport Ministry will study
the existing practice of allowing drivers to renew their licence
once in every five years, said the minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee
He said the drivers involved in accidents would
not be easy to detect they went to renew their licence.
“This is the loophole in law enforcement
we must study thoroughly. We want to know how many of them really
pay their fines and what is the general attitude of the people
when they are served with summonses,” he said after launching
the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) Malaysia Report
at Hilton Hotel here Tuesday.
He said the ministry needed to go through the
driving test and lesson again.
Earlier, Ong in his speech, said the key cost-effective
counter measures with the biggest potential to save lives and reduce
injuries were removal of roadside hazards, putting up central hatching
to separate high speed opposing flows on undivided roads and the
provision of exclusive and non exclusive motorcycle lanes based
on the iRAP report.
“The full iRAP Malaysia programme has the
potential to prevent almost 32,000 deaths and injuries over 20
years, which equals to more than a 30% reduction in trauma levels
on the initial iRAP network of 3,700km of roads,” he said.
He said the iRAP was an initiative to help improve
road infrastructure safety in low and middle income countries in
order to drive down global road death toll.
Under the iRAP pilot programme, which started
in March, 2007, Ong said 3,700km of expressways and federal roads
in Malaysia were surveyed and rated.
He said 6,527 people died on roads as a result
of road crashes with motorcyclists recording 60% of that fatality.
“As for serious injuries, about 20 to 30
road users fall victim daily with about 50% of this group sustaining
permanent disabilities requiring lifelong social and welfare support.
Even though injury as a result of accidents had
dropped almost 40% from 54,091 in 2004 to 32,294 in 2008, Ong said
these figures were still a far cry from the international benchmark
achieved by developed countries.
In economic terms, Ong said the social cost of
road crashes was estimated at about RM9bil annually over the past
10 years, including hospitalisation and medical costs, insurance
payouts and vehicle repair costs and loss of income.
To enhance road safety in Malaysia, Ong said the
government had formulated the Zero Fatalities Vision and the Road
Safety Plan of Malaysia 2006 - 2010, which addresses a wide range
of road safety and sets out a comprehensive and balanced approach
in implementing road safety initiatives that were built around
4E’s - Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Environment.
‘Make Roads Safe Campaign’ global
ambassador Datuk Michelle Yeoh, who was also present at the launch,
said she was very proud Malaysia had in participation with iRAP
to carry out the assessment programme as it was important to know
the shortcomings of the roads in the country.
“We need our roads to be safe for our people,
for our children, for our breadwinners. A few seconds in a road
crash will cause them a lifetime of grief,” she said.