Friday, October 02, 2009

Ops Sikap's failed mission

Death rate on roads unacceptable

The final death toll from road accidents during the 15 days of Ops Sikap XX that covered this Hari Raya festive period was 261 which is an increase to that that recorded last year. The number of accidents recorded during the same period was 17,335 and the summonses issued were 152,745 which indicate significant increases from the preceding year.

The police, Road Transport Department, PLUS and other Highway and road operators have put in a lot of effort in trying to reduce the accidents and deaths during festive periods which should be highly commended.

Despite all the efforts and money spent on Ops Sikap the number of accidents and the death due to them keeps increasing every year. It may be time for the authorities to review the measures taken to reduce accidents not only during festive periods but throughout the year. Do we still need to continue with Ops Sikap if the intended targets are not met? What is the real purpose of Ops Sikap, to reduce road accidents or just to record statistics on road deaths and accidents and issue summonses to top up the government coffers during the various festivities?

We are told that about 800,000 new vehicles were registered last year and about 2 million vehicles used the North-South Expressway (PLUS) during this Hari Raya holidays. The figures will be many times more if we were to take into consideration the trunk roads that were all jammed with cars during the period. The increase in the number of vehicles will give rise to a corresponding increase in the number of drivers including many new ones who would have taken to the streets.

With such a drastic increase in traffic volume, the unchanged inconsiderate attitude of the drivers, the poor road conditions, inadequate rest areas, inefficient alternative public transportation and the emerging culture of over enthusiasm to rush home at all costs, it would be impossible to reduce the number of accidents and deaths on our roads during festive seasons.

There are no way accidents and deaths associated with them can be effectively reduced with the present rate of increase in the vehicles on the roads. There must be concerted effort by all concerned to deliberately keep away from the roads as far as possible. Why the mad rush to get home at all costs?

It is deeply distressing to read of whole families perishing in tragic road accidents during their balik kampong journeys. Joy and happiness suddenly turns to extreme sadness and agony for those who lose their loved ones in such tragedies that could have been prevented. Imagine babies and children suddenly made orphans and parents without warning losing their children at the prime of their lives.

Hundreds are dying on our roads during the various festive periods in the country. Many of them are at the peak of the careers and their demise is a great loss to the families and the nation. It may be time for Malaysians to review our emerging culture of mass exodus to be with friends and relatives during the 1 or 2 festive days. We may be doing that at the expense of losing our lives and those of loved ones. Why shouldn’t such trips home, particularly to be with parents, be staggered throughout the year?

We must review the granting of additional long leave especially to schools to discourage the mass exodus. It is time to develop other modes of transportation, rail and air to reduce the overdependence on roads. A more balanced transportation system should be planned and implemented as soon as possible. It is impossible to keep increasing the roads and highways to cater for the rapidly multiplying number of vehicles.

As the name suggests Ops Sikap is conducted to change the attitude of road users. In this aim it has clearly seen to have failed.The high death rate during festive periods is not acceptable in this modern era of technological sophistication. There is a need for a comprehensive review of Ops Sikap and other measures to reduce road deaths not just during festive periods but throughout the year. Our leaders must spend less time, money and energy in politicking and come together to solve the many problems that confront us, roads accidents being just one of them.

Dr.Chris Anthony

1 comment:

Stephen Schaunt said...

A lot of people die in car accidents all over the world. Some are lucky to just incur minor injuries or injuries that their body can still repair. Governments around the world can do their best to solve this issue, but the solution to this problem actually lies with us road users. If only have a little sense of responsibility in our hearts, and give importance to the lives of our fellow road users, then none of these horrible road accidents would happen.

Historic Parliament after historic GE14

  New Parliament symbol of hope and democracy Congratulations to all our newly elected MPs. The first session of the 14th ...