Concession companies have been urged to review the appropriate mechanisms for the guardrails installation of the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge to prevent incidents of vehicles plunging into the sea from recurring.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the existing guardrails were probably not tall enough to meet the standards to prevent vehicles from plunging into the sea.
“In order to stop such incidents from recurring, it is very important for the authorities to further review the specifications and standards of the guardrails to reduce the risks faced by bridge users.
“Perhaps it (the barrier) is sufficient to prevent ‘normal’ accidents but the crash on early Saturday morning was a high impact... which may prove the guardrails to be incapable of preventing vehicles from plunging into the sea, so they need to be reviewed,” he told reporters after launching a road safety advocates programme for the upcoming Chinese New Year, 'Drive Safe With Us', for the Bagan Jermal constituency in Butterworth today.
He was commenting on the incident where a sports utility vehicle (SUV) plunged into the sea at Kilometre 4 of the Penang Bridge towards Perai at 2.54 am yesterday.
A team of divers found the Mazda CX-5 SUV, which plunged off the bridge, submerged about 15 metres deep in the water at about 4pm today.
It was not known if the driver, who had been identified as 20-year-old student Moey Yun Peng, was in the car.
Meanwhile, the Penang Road Safety Department (JKJR) director M Thurkahthevi, who was also present, said the statistics of road accidents for the state as issued by the Royal Malaysian Police showed an increasing trend every year.
“In 2017, the number of reported accidents was 43,007 cases compared to 42,244 cases recorded in 2016, an increase of 763. While in 2018 the figure also showed an increase, but we have yet to receive the full data which will be updated in the near future,” he said.
However, he added the death toll of road accidents showed a decrease in 2017, which was 401 deaths compared to 411 deaths recorded in 2016.
“Although the number of deaths was declining, the JKJR is proactively conducting road safety campaigns at all levels to achieve zero death annually.
“What has to be emphasised is for us to apply a safe driving attitude as 80 percent of the accidents were caused by reckless driving,” he said.
The safety programme, which was organised by the Penang JKJR in collaboration with Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd and Raja Uda Petronas Petrol Station, Bagan Jermal, also offered road tax renewal services via Mobile JPJ.
Among the activities carried out were free inspections of 1,000 motorcycles, giving away 1,000 road safety vests and 1,000 light reflecting stickers and distribution of leaflets on road safety.