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LETTER | Road safety: It's all about enforcement

LETTER | How long must we wait for authorities to improve the safety of express buses and other commercial vehicles?

I am referring to another fatal accident involving an express bus along the road leading to Genting Highlands.

Each time when there was an accident involving public or commercial vehicles, inevitably some of the common factors would emerge - the drivers had no valid licence, the drivers were on drugs, there were hundreds of summonses pending on the drivers, the drivers were speeding, and the vehicles were not road worthy.

I think we have had this same problem for at least the last 30 to 40 years. Over time, with more manpower and improved enforcement, the situation should become better. But did we?

It is not difficult to self-assess road safety on our roads and highways. When driving on a highway, how frequently did we see commercial vehicles, (ie express buses, container trucks and other heavy vehicles moving far exceeding their speech limits). I have personally called the telephone numbers stated on the bus to report speeding to the authorities, but to no avail.

Malaysia’s ultimate solution for any problem is always to increase the manpower and equip the enforcement personnel with more gadgets and monitoring devices. No wonder the Treasury is running empty while major problems faced remain unresolved.

It is useless to keep spending money on personnel and equipment when actual enforcement is either non-existence, utterly corrupt, or lackadaisical.

Telling us the driver was not licensed or was on drugs, the vehicle was not roadworthy or was speeding after the accident is almost useless. Why didn’t we know all this before the accident? Enforcement must prevent accidents, not telling us the factors causing accidents after they have occurred.

There are a few principles of enforcement which most of us know. I really hope the authorities, especially the Transport Ministry and the police will do something about it quickly.

For me, enforcement can never be effective if it is done in dribs and drabs. For goodness sake, do it consistently and relentlessly for a period of time until there is a habit change. It is useless to brief up enforcement for two weeks after a major accident and after that, everything is back to normal.

Similarly, punishments for offences committed and summonses issued must be imposed and executed quickly. If a driver with a hundred offences pending but still can drive around, who then really cares for the summonses?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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