When one takes a look at the fatalities from road accidents across the world, Malaysia does not have a good record considering the numbers are higher than those developed countries namely the US and countries in Europe. Image source: Our World In Data.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has one of the good road infrastructures due to their petroleum money and yet they fare the worst when it comes to road accident fatalities. There is no correlation between the quality of roads and the number of road accidents.
Read these first:-
- Driving Skills 101: Driving on the Wrong Side of Road
- Driving Skills 101: No Reason to Disrespect Emergency Service Vehicle!!
- Driving Skills 101: Stopping Stupid Pesky Motorcyclists From Our Roads Part 2
- Driving Skills 101: Unfortunately Raining Idiots on Highway
- Governance 101: Damn Those Shoddy Roadworks!
Most Dangerous Roads
We have this rather disturbing news on the conditions of our roads:-
Malaysia has been ranked the eighth most dangerous country to drive in out of 53 countries in 2022, according to data from Zutobi, an international driver’s education company.
With a safety driving score of 5.63 out of 10, Malaysia improved upon its previous score of 5.6 that placed it seventh in 2021 (56 countries were listed then).
As for others on the list, countries that were ranked as being more dangerous to drive in than Malaysia include Bosnia and Herzegovina (seventh), Croatia (sixth), India (fifth), Argentina (fourth), the US (third), Thailand (second) and South Africa (first).
(Source: Paul Tan)
Out of the many roads in the world, nothing however indicates that it is dangerous because of the low-quality building of the road except those in Pakistan & India highlands. It is however dangerous due to extreme weather, narrow roads and more importantly because the road users are reckless, inconsiderate and stupid.
Other interesting factors that were highlighted in the Zutobi report are as follows:-
- Thailand has the highest amount of road traffic-related deaths per 100,000 people out of all the countries we looked at. There are an estimated 32.2 road traffic deaths per 100,000 of the population.
- Germany is the only country in our study that does not impose a motorway speed limit for cars. The recommended speed limit on the Autobahn is 130km/h, however, this is often ignored by drivers.
- Czechia, France, Germany and Japan are estimated to have the highest rate of front seat-belt usage in the world, at 98%.
- The risk of a drunk driving-related fatality is highest in South Africa. South Africa has the highest amount of alcohol-related road traffic deaths, at 57.5%.
- The UK, USA, Malaysia and Guyana are the countries most relaxed in their legal BAC limit for drivers. These countries permit drivers to have a BAC level of 0.08%.
- Iceland has the least amount of road traffic-related deaths per 100,000 people. There are an estimated 2 road traffic deaths per 100,000 and the number has been declining since 2019.
- Ranking 8th overall, Bolivia is the country with the lowest maximum motorway speed limit for cars. The national speed limit is 80km/h.
- Bolivia is estimated to have the lowest rate of front seat-belt usage in the world, at just 3.5%. There is no national law requiring the use of seatbelts in the country and very few people report wearing one.
- Malaysia has the lowest amount of alcohol-related road traffic deaths, at just 0.1%. While the majority of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, the sale of alcohol to non-Muslims is permitted, and the BAC limit for drivers is 0.08%.
The fact that Malaysia is the eighth most dangerous country to drive sounds dubious as it is formulated from a survey of just 53 countries. Be mindful that there are 195 countries in the world and 53 are merely 27% of all countries in the world.
This is also a fact that is highlighted by the Works Ministry:-
In a statement, the ministry said the reports were inaccurate, misleading and gave a negative perception of the overall quality of roads in Malaysia.
It also said the news reports had quoted a study by Zutobi, an online driver’s education company, which calculated the scores based on only four factors, namely road quality, improvements in road quality, road deaths and the relative size of the road network.
(Source: Free Malaysia Today)
Picking just 53 countries out of a total of 195 countries and saying that it is one of the most dangerous countries to drive around is unfair, misleading and factually incorrect.
The main cause of accidents in Malaysia is stupidity which closely comes with the other factor that causes menace on Malaysia roads – pesky motorcyclists. The above accident happened when an idiot on a motorcycle decided to cut across a busy road the wrong way without looking left and right. Image source: Facebook.
Common Causes of Road Accidents
Before we look at the correlation between dangerous roads and the number of accidents, these are the general causes of road accidents:-
- Distracted Driving. Distracted drivers are the top cause of car accidents in the U.S. today.
- Speeding. Speed kills, and travelling above the speed limit is an easy way to cause a car accident.
- Drunk Driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol causes car accidents every day, even when they are one of the top causes that can be avoided.
- Reckless Driving. Reckless driving is a moving violation in which a driver displays a disregard for the rules of the road.
- Rain. Car accidents happen very often in the rain because water creates slick and dangerous surfaces for cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
- Running Red Lights. Drivers that run red lights, run the risk of causing wrongful death because they often cause side-impact collisions at high speeds.
- Running Stop Signs. Each year, thousands of car accidents occur because one driver ran a stop sign. Many rollover accidents and side-impact car accidents result from drivers that run stop signs.
- Teenage Drivers. When teen drivers hit the roads they don’t always know what to do and that lack of experience ends up causing car accidents.
- Night Driving. Driving in the daylight can be hazardous, but driving at night nearly doubles the risk of a car accident occurring.
- Design Defects. Automobiles have hundreds of parts, and any of those defective parts can cause a serious car accident.
- Unsafe Lane Changes. When drivers don’t make safe lane changes properly, it often leads to a car accident.
- Wrong-Way Driving. When you go the wrong way, everyone is in danger because as you head towards a car accident.
- Improper Turns. The reason that we have stop lights, turn signals, and lanes designated for moving either right or left as opposed to straight is that when drivers ignore the rules of the road, car accidents are often the result.
- Tailgating. Many fatal car accidents have occurred when a motorist dangerously tailgated another driver at high speeds. You can prevent these car accidents by giving the car in front of you a one-car-length buffer for every 10 mph you drive.
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. It’s not only alcohol that is dangerous when mixed with drivers on the road. Drugs, both legal and illegal, can impair your ability to fully function as a driver.
- Ice. Ice is a major cause of car accidents in cities with cold weather climates.
Snow. Like ice, cities with cold winters know all too well just how dangerous snow can be for commuters.
- Road Rage. By tailgating another driver in anger or speeding past another driver only to pull in front of them and brake, these road “ragers” cause many needless car accidents each year.
- Potholes. Drivers run the risk of losing control of their car or blowing out a tire when they drive over potholes.
- Drowsy Driving. Driver fatigue isn’t talked about a lot, but how well can we expect anyone to drive when they’re having trouble staying awake? Most car accidents caused by drowsy driving occur at night.
- Tire Blowouts. Tire blowouts can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, and they are especially dangerous for bigger automobiles like semi-trucks.
- Fog. Fog isn’t the most common weather occurrence, and that’s good news for car accident statistics. Driving is a skill that requires the ability to see, but fog makes it extremely difficult to see sometimes more than a car’s length in front of you.
- Deadly Curves. Many motorists have lost control of their cars along a dangerous curve and lost their lives in car accidents.
- Animal Crossings. Wild animals will wade out into the street, and it’s up to you to make sure that you don’t get into a car accident with them.
- Street Racing. With turbo engines and nitrous oxide boosters, cars often reach very high speeds during a street race, making any resulting car accident much more dangerous and unlikely to yield any survivors.
(Source: Serious Accidents)
Most of the causes of road accidents have nothing to do with road conditions except for one which is potholes which in Malaysia can be a major issue considering how bad road potholes are fixed in the country. Most accidents that happen in the country have nothing to do with the weather or the condition of the roads.
One key element in reducing road accidents is the enforcement of traffic laws. The weaker the enforcement is, the more frequent drivers will not abide by traffic rules and the risk of causing an accident becomes higher. In Malaysia, the Government tried to bring on the use of automated enforcement systems but some pro-traffic offenders screwed up the wider implementation. Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels
Traffic Summons Discounts
One of the reasons why we have repeated traffic offenders both Malaysian and sizable Singaporeans who cross over and treat Malaysian highways as their personal racing tracks is because we have very weak enforcement against these traffic offenders.
We don’t go after these stubborn traffic offenders and we even allow them to continue to drive and clock more traffic offences that endanger others.
About 2.3 million traffic summons issued since 2014 are outstanding, Johor police chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat disclosed today. He said of the total figure, 109,758 traffic summonses involved Singaporean vehicle owners.
“From our records, 23.5 per cent of Singaporean vehicle owners have paid their outstanding traffic summonses, while the remaining 76.4 per cent have yet to settle with the police.
He said the Johor police has initiated a summons reduction programme that starts today until Sunday in which payment for select offences will be halved.
(Source: Malay Mail)
Although PDRM does not offer discounts for serious traffic offences, it is a fact that there is a lot of outstanding summons that are yet to be collected. And only when PDRM offers huge discounts, do these traffic offenders decide to crawl out of their caves to pay for their traffic offences. It is both sickening and unfair. There are many other drivers who admit to breaking the traffic laws and pay their summons on time and in full.
Earlier, PDRM, in a post on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts, announced that a 50 per cent discount for selected traffic offences will be given to members of the public who make payment at the celebration.
However, offences involving accidents, summons with arrest warrant status, cutting on double lines, beating the red light, overtaking dangerously and using the emergency lane were not among the discounted list.
In addition, it also does not involve offences in the non-compoundable (NC) category, with trial status, as well as offences related to heavy vehicles and vehicle exhaust modifications.
(Source: The Sun)
We need stronger and unbiased enforcement of traffic laws and when an offender is issued a summon, there should not be any discounts or unlimited time for them to pay for the summons.
Singaporeans in particular should be made to pay for the traffic summons whilst they are still in Malaysia and any failure to do so, should result in their vehicles being towed to the nearest police station until the fines are paid.
It is a fact that the road infrastructures in Malaysia are mostly first class especially the regulated, tolled highways. However, the conditions at local roads are rarely in good condition due to the frequent wear & tear and the low budget allocated for repairing roads by the respective State Governments and local authorities.
So it is indeed incorrect and misleading to say that Malaysia is one of the most dangerous countries for one to drive to based on the quality of the roads alone. Rarely we have heard that potholes have caused a severe number of road accidents and fatalities.
Instead, it will be factual to say that Malaysia is indeed one of the most dangerous countries for one to drive because we lack the enforcement against law offenders and when the authorities do book the traffic offenders, we don’t follow up with blacklisting and increasing the fines for repeated traffic offenders,