Driving on the Wrong Side of Road

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Wrong Side of the Road

(Another car on the wrong side of the road – this was from 2017 where a 21-year-old man was killed when a BMW, travelling against the traffic, rammed into his Perodua MyVi at Jalan Tun Razak near the National Library. Photo source: NST)

There was a time when I drive to work; there is a road that leads from the office to the main road leading into the Federal Highway. This is a known choke point and pretty much crawling at peak hours. So once the right side of the lane jammed up, impatient drivers will then start driving on the wrong side of the road to bypass the traffic and make illegal entry to the main road, compounding the traffic jam at this point. I lost count of the times when I will turn into this slip road only to face off with drivers driving on the wrong side of the road.

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Ops Sikap: Attitude vs Enforcement

UPDATE: Good to hear that the police is going all out for those who is speeding on the roads. Hopefully they will find better ways to crack down pesky motorcyclists and enforce the law on those who change lane without putting on the indicators, abuse the emergency lane, hog the roads, etc

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2W6Al2bosw]

(Caught this video back in 2008 of those who abuse the emergency lane – nothing have changed in 2011. Will we see change of attitude in 2012?)

Read Part 1 & Part 2 first

I thought of replying it under the comment box but looking at the length of my reply, I might as well put it as a reply post:-

Hi Visithra

Thanks for your comments – it is heartening to know that the authorities do take the enforcement serious

I think everyone (me, you, the authorities, etc) do agree on one thing – there is a serious attitude problem with fellow Malaysians when they are on the road (it is the same in every other country as well). I have been saying the same thing too. And I am not saying that that the authorities are not enforcing the law at all but the problem is that they are not doing enough to enforce the law (I will come to the part of “what the solution, then” shortly).

In relation to attitude problem, you ask “why can’t we change?” Good question there but unfortunately there are certain things you can do to call people to change their attitude when they are on the road – organising safety talks, campaigns on mainstream media and public areas, compilation of statistics, etc but it will come to a point where these “soft approach” had done its part. If nothing much changed positively (as evident from Ops Sikap 24 statistics and your comments that no matter what you tell them they go back to doing the same thing), it is high time for the Government to take stronger measures.

It is up to you to advocate the continuation of the soft approach – participate in road safety campaign, give out free helmets (which probably ends up on the motorcycle basket rather than on their head), etc and hopefully one day these road users will see the light at the end of the tunnel and change their attitude.

But seriously, don’t you think that the Government have been doing that for donkey odd years? It may have moved a small percentage of them but a bulk of them seemed to have remained stubborn and unmoved. If this soft approach has been effective, wouldn’t it have worked – even if number of vehicles on the road sky-rocketed? That is my point preciously. Let’s have a look at the statistics (you can “google” them for the sources):-

Deaths in Ops Sikap 21 = 241
Deaths in Ops Sikap 22 = 218
Deaths in Ops Sikap 23 = 199
Deaths in Ops Sikap 24 = 289

Summons issued in Ops Sikap 23 = 167,868
Summons issued in Ops Sikap 24 = 133,808

After the end of Ops Sikap 24 which saw a huge increase of fatality (if number of cars to be blamed, shouldn’t deaths in Ops Sikap 21 – 23 be increasing as well?), it is obvious that they need to relook into these soft approaches and revamp the whole strategy. It is ok if those with serious attitude problems go and kill themselves in road accidents but it does not happen that way – it affect others as well directly or indirectly. It impacts the family, other innocent road users (who were at the wrong place and at the wrong time), and the country as whole.

Just a couple days ago, I witnessed a bus with full load of passengers streaming down the highway at more than 120 km/h weaving in and out of the fast lane – it must be someone’s lucky star that it did not hit anyone and end up killing someone on the road. So how we are going to prevent a repeat this incident? Send all bus drivers to road safety seminar and hope that they will drive safer the next day? Given the fact that bus drivers are driven by the economics of trips per month, I have my doubts that soft approach will cause bus drivers to be slower on the roads. What else can be done?

Let’s say the authorities are indeed serious in enforcing the law but having a problem of unable to be everywhere at the same time – the question is what they are doing about it?

In my last post, I talked about the need for road safety operations to be conducted all around the year (road safety operations here does not means road safety seminars in some posh hotels). And I made my share of the noise when they canceled the plans to increase the fine to RM1,000 – that should have been introduced for hardcore road offenders. Then there were talks of “Automated Enforcement System” at certain hot-spots – are they widening the scope of enforcement? What about those traffic cameras that snaps the photos of those who jump the red light? Surprisingly I don’t see them anymore in most of traffic lights where jumping the red light is a norm.

Most fatalities happened on federal and smaller roads and here, it would be harder to monitor but that does not mean the traffic laws cannot be enforced especially when seeing a motorcyclist on public roads without any helmet. Of course, there will be issue of manpower and resources but the starting cost for these can easily off-set from the summons collected from the traffic offenders and relocation of resources from other areas (as how it is done in battling other crimes with more policemen deployed on the streets).

On my part, whenever possible, I snapshot of those abuse the traffic laws (in particular the emergency lane) and sent them to JPJ for their further action for I believe call for attitude change is a waste of time. If the authorities provide some good incentive for people to be their eyes and ears in catching the road offenders in their act, I am pretty sure that there will be more people helping the authorities and the level of enforcement would be more effective.

These are just some of actions that the government agencies involved in reducing the number of fatalities could do. Such measures are NOT new and I am sure, is not something that they have not thought about. So, what’s stopping them from enforcing it?

I am not saying that we should stop the soft approach completely – there are still new, inexperience drivers coming on board every year. Who knows, it may do good for some of them especially when it is done from school level and up. However, given the fact that the statistics of Ops Sikap 24 which saw higher fatalities compared to Ops Sikap 23, 22, 21, the authorities should also relook into the aspect of enforcement – PDRM & JPJ in particular (leave JKJR to focus on the soft approach). And they need to do this before start of Ops Sikap 25.

Thank you

Ops Sikap: Authorities Should Be Blamed Too

Update: I guess it is unfair to point the fingers at the police alone although they do handle the bulk of the enforcement since there are other agencies involved namely JPJ who handle licensing & training and JKJR who handle the overall coordination and road safety related activities

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(It looks like a plague, idiots on the road without helmet creating nuisance and endangering others – the worse ones even have young kids on the motorcycle. Image source: http://drhanie.blogspot.com/)

This was not a big surprise:-

The number of road accidents and deaths recorded under Ops Sikap 24 during the Hari Raya season was the highest since the operation was launched a decade ago.

A total of 289 people died in 19,606 road accidents during the 15-day operation which ended on Tuesday. Motorcyclists and pillion riders made up 179 or 62% of the fatalities.

There was an 18% jump in fatalities compared to 244 during last Hari Raya and a 16.5% rise in the number of accidents compared to 16,817 last year.

According to police who issued 133,808 summonses for various traffic offences during the operation, more accidents occurred on federal roads than on highways.

(Source)

Let me tell you about my experience when I was in the vicinity of the “lawless” Kampung Medan last week – it was a holiday, so we decided to visit someone here.

I was driving along the main road near Taman Sri Manja around lunch time – traffic was not so bad (due to the holidays) but I noticed something rather common on these roads – there are more motorcyclists riding rather dangerously (and oblivion to on-coming traffic) without helmets than those with helmets on. A large number of these motorcyclists, who been riding around without any helmets, are young. I am pretty sure a number of them are riding their father’s or uncle’s motorcycle possibly without any license or consent too (you still remember this idiot who was shot dead by the police last year?).

I encountered one idiot on the road – a lady with her brand new Hari Raya Baju Kurung with a lady friend as her pillion rider, both not wearing any helmet and busy chit-chatting while riding in the middle of the road, causing a mini traffic jam at the back. Such idiots without helmets whilst on the main road were not the first I encountered along the road. There were many more. Damn, what these idiots are thinking? That they are riding on some back lane in some remote village? That their soft skull is strong enough to withstand a strong impact on the hard pavement? That nothing will happen to them when they fall under wheels of a car?

I then exited the main street and cut into a smaller lane where I saw at the front, another motorcyclist, once again without helmet, weaving in an out of the two lanes. Even as I neared him, he was rather ignorant of the traffic around him and continued to weave in and out. Despite knowing all too well, I did something that often irked similar idiots on the road – I pressed my horns long and hard. It did the job – the idiot quickly moved over and I was able to overtake him safely. As I passing him, I saw him – another young kid (probably in Form 1 or 2) – no helmets, wearing a simple T-shirt and a short pants, flip-flops. He looked back at me, looking rather annoyed that his weaving in and out on public roads has been short-lived.

After I overtook him, I noticed him speeding up to catch up with me (being in the vicinity of Kampung Medan, I was expecting for a gang fight on the street). He overtook me and sped up and then continued with the weaving in and out of the two lanes. But because he was a bit far from my car (and thus no risk of an accident), I decided to let go this idiot to continue with his folly, postponing the “inevitable” for another day.

Now, let’s come back to the statistics of the recent Ops Sikap 24 – the police say that 62% of the fatalities are motorcyclists and there are more fatal accidents on federal roads (the vicinity of Kampung Medan counts as a federal road) than on highways. So, who is to be blamed?

The IGP says that “the main factor which leads to such mishaps is attitude”. I agree that at the end of the day, attitude is the main (if not, the only) consideration when it comes to road safety. Surely if those idiots that I encountered last week had a better attitude, they would have been wearing helmets and abide to the road courtesy and traffic rules. However, there are only certain things you can do to call for a change of attitude before you decide that enough is enough and it is time to take out the thick cane and give one hard on their buttocks.

Seeing idiots on motorcycle without helmet is nothing new especially when it comes to lawless areas like Kampung Medan. But the question is what the authorities are doing about it? I am very certain that if the authorities launches a major operation in this area and nab a couple or two idiots by their neck and confiscate their motorcycles for good, there will be more idiots ending up “seeing the light” and will start wearing helmets and hopefully abide to traffic rules.

The point here is enforcement of traffic rules. We already know that these idiots have attitude problems and despite reminders, safety campaign and strong threats, nothing moved them. Are we just going to resign by saying that “I am saddened by what has happened” and hope for a miracle (that will never come) to happen in the next Ops Sikap 25? I am sure the authorities are much better than that!

It is not enough that we give out summons for a few that was caught in the “net” and even this, does not guarantee that these buggers will not repeat the abuse of traffic rules (remember when things was that bad that the Government even offered some discounts on the summons?). And are we going to only put extra care during the holidays and when we have “Ops Sikap”s? Certainly not!

So, stop pleading for a change of attitude and start enforcing the law. And start with places where the traffic rules are treated worse than dirt. After all, the Government and by extension, the authorities have been “talking” about it since 2005! We do not want the number of fatalities to remain high especially when it involves other law abiding road users.

I say enough of empty talks…it is high time to take out the thick cane. Otherwise, one need to admit that the authorities is also contributing to the statistics.

Investigating 28 Deaths

Sometimes it simply does not make any sense – perhaps it was not meant to be so.

(It has to be one of the worst bus accident in the country and made worse by the fact that most who died are foreign tourists. Image source: http://huanqiu.com)

Early this year, the Coroner’s Court investigating the death of Teoh Beng Hock returned an open verdict. There was outcry on this decision from the general public and politicians from both side of the divide. The Cabinet despite earlier not agreeing on a Royal Commission is looking into setting up a Royal Commission but whether a RC would finally find the cause of Teoh Beng Hock is yet to be determined.

How we want to investigate the death of one person in proper when we are screwing up the investigations of the death 28 people?

Read this first:-

Universiti Putra Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi will head an independent inquiry board investigating the high-decked bus crash in Cameron Highlands on Dec 20 last year which left 28 passengers dead. In a statement yesterday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the Cabinet had agreed on the appointment of Prof Radin, who has a PhD in traffic safety engineering and a Master’s in transport and traffic engineering (Source)

It’s great to know that we are getting the best to head the investigations – certainly the next of kin of the 28 who died in the tragedy has every right to know exactly what had happened. And by getting the right people to head the investigating team means no stones would be left unturned in discovering the cause.

Was the tragedy due to malfunction of the bus brakes, illegal modifications of bus structure, recklessness of the driver or the condition of the road itself? Perhaps the independent inquiry board would also come up with the right recommendations and suggestions – not that we have not heard recommendations and suggestions after major incidents. One thing for sure, the independent inquiry board investigation is going to take considerable time, money and resources.

But hold on to your horses there! What about this piece of reporting?

An accident involving a high-decked bus that crashed on its way down from Cameron Highlands last month is due to human error and not caused by an oil spill on the road as speculated earlier. State Infrastructure Committee chairman Datuk Ramly Zahari said police investigations showed human error was the reason for the crash which killed 28 people. He said although the accident was caused by human error, the state government would improve the physical condition of the road at the accident site. (Source)

In case you missed it, let me highlight what I think is the deep screw to the investigations proper – “human error was the reason for the crash which killed 28 people”.

This means one of two things:-

1. If the police already investigated and already found the cause of the accident – that it is due to human error (and not the road condition), then why we are wasting time appointing an independent inquiry board? Don’t you think it is kind of redundant? Assuming we go ahead and appoint the independent inquiry board and they end up coming to the same conclusion, so why appoint them anyway in the first place?

2. If the independent inquiry board is the rightful entity appointed by the Government to get to the cause of the accident, is the State and the police is jumping the gun with their analysis? What if the outcome of the independent inquiry board turns out to be something else? Then we will end up having 2 entities with 2 different conclusions for the same accident – that would be interesting. Shouldn’t the State and the police submit their findings to the independent inquiry board once they have started their investigations and let them decide on the final conclusion as to what caused the tragedy?

The concern is that if we can’t even agree on who is going to formally investigate a tragedy that took the life of 28 innocent people in seconds, wonder how we are going to investigate the death of one man proper? Would it be a case of too many cook spoils the soup?

World Rabies Day

(Sorry, not talking about the ones who bark on supremacy of race without substance)

(How rabies spreads and what are the symptoms – Image source: www. wormsandgermsblog.com)

28th September 2010 was World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day, observed on September 28th each year, is a global initiative to raise awareness about the continuing burden of rabies and how the disease can be prevented. The campaign brings together individuals of multiple fields to show support for anti-rabies efforts.

World Rabies Day advocates for the health of the total population (human and animal), through a “One Medicine” approach and is the only worldwide event of its kind focused on global rabies control and prevention.

Despite being 100% preventable, one person dies from rabies every ten minutes. It is estimated that 52,560 people die worldwide from rabies each year.

Children are particularly at risk, with almost half of all rabies deaths occurring in children under 15 years. The main source of human exposure to rabies, especially in children, is from dogs. Rabies can be transmitted from dogs not vaccinated against the disease. Vaccination tends to be neglected in many parts of the world.

(Source)

And talking about children being at higher risk – just watch THIS and you will realize how important it is to take care of the surroundings, pets and children in particular.

Just how many of us had been going around completely ignorant of the dirty surroundings, stray dogs and cats that makes themselves at home in our residential areas (some morons even feed them) and leaving our children unattended.

Danger along Highway

(Seeing dead body on the road was not something I had in mind for my weekend entertainment. Image source: http://thezeph.wordpress.com)

I talked about it almost 2 years ago

And it finally happened last week as I was driving along LDP on a Saturday afternoon after a meeting with a friend and realised that there was heavy traffic jam. From afar, we can see the fast lane was blocked and the traffic moved from 3 lanes to 2 lanes. A police car was parked on the fast lane.

We saw couple of men behind the police car, measuring something. As we were crawled along, we saw a pair of legs on the ground in front of the police car. We drove further and saw a young man – looked like an Indonesian – on the ground with a bloody face and was not moving at all. He was dead. Along both sides of the highway, there was a huge crowd of Indonesians standing and watching the dead body. Perhaps it was their family member; perhaps it was their friend or working colleague.

But it was too late – the young man was dead and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

And yet, this is unlikely to be end of the story as I realised later – another idiot was waiting at the middle to cross the busy highway (he had managed cross one part of the highway and got stuck in the middle, waiting to cross the other part).

In the meantime, Malay Mail reports this:-

A pair of lovers was killed when the car they were travelling in crashed into a road divider at Km21.7 Kesas Expressway at 5.30am today. Selangor traffic and public order chief Supt Che Hussin Omar said Ng Kai Seng and girlfriend Wong Pao Wen, both 19, died of head injuries at the scene.

“They were returning home to Bukit Tinggi from Kuala Lumpur in a Toyota Vios when the car skidded, spun and crashed into the road divider.”The impact sent them crashing onto the road. The car landed about 200 metres away from the spot it crashed into a road divider at Km21.7.”

Che Hussin said initial investigation showed that the driver was speeding above the permitted speed limit.

Their remains were sent to Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital for a post-mortem. Police also took blood samples to test the alcohol level

Speeding over the permitted speed limit is one thing (the speed limit is lower than speed limit for North South Highway) but has the problems facing the highway itself been rectified?

In 2007, I wrote this:-

For anyone who uses the Kesas, look closely at the divider – it goes up and down. It is the same case on the road. You are virtually driving up a small slope, then down and sometimes the “up and down” is so sudden that you are bouncing through the air.

There is no warning at all for motorist to slow down or to watch out for sudden ups and downs other than the sporadic speed limit signboard. It is no wonder that when it rains heavily, the volume of water stagnant on the road is also heavy.

So, in other words, you can’t drive that fast in Kesas

We are not really sure whether Ng Kai Seng been speeding but if you think about it, driving at 81 km/h (Kesas has a speed limit of 80 km/h) is nothing too great compared to driving at 110 km/h along the North South Highway. But road conditions (and perhaps the weather) have been bad; it does not really need Ng Kai Seng to be flying in his Vios to get in serious trouble.

And from personal experience, Kesas can be very tricky at higher speed but here is sickening part to the whole affair – “driving above the speed limit” aside of course, we are paying through our noses for the toll for such a lousy and poorly constructed highway.

Snatched

If Malaysian politicians are in the limelight on the issue of copyright of food, here is one that is seemed to be tied up with Malaysia – snatch thief (the other is Mat Rempit). The ugly side of this crime is making headlines once again

(Image source: TheStar)

From theStar:-

“She was taken away cruelly by criminals who prey on innocent people,” Tan Chia Guan said at the funeral of his 17-year-old daughter Tan Shu Fang, a straight-As student, who died following a snatch theft.

Another innocent young life taken away unnecessarily and is a dent on the Home Ministry’s KPI. This incident happened on the same time when a foreigner got shot when he went after a snatch thief.

One can only hope that the police will manage to track these scumbags and charged them with murder and given the maximum number of caning allowed under the law. The politicians on the other hand, instead of wasting time politicking, should go back and submit revisions to the law so that any potential snatch thieves will think 3 – 5 times before daring to commit the crime. The punishments for all other crime should be increased substantially.

Sometimes the law manages to catch hold of the culprits

A snatch thief, who caused the death of pregnant mother Jamilah Selamat in Ayer Hitam earlier this month, is likely to be charged with murder. Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said police have recommended to the public prosecutor’s office that the main suspect be charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

Sometimes the public manages to catch hold of the culprits

A snatch theft suspect was nearly beaten to death by an angry mob that set on him with sticks and plastic chairs along Jalan Tok Hakim here on Sunday night.

And sometimes God helps out in small ways

A snatch thief running away from his victim was killed in a hit- and-run accident along Jalan Seri Kembangan yesterday morning.

Losing materialistic items to snatch thief is one thing, but to lose a life when one is still very young is another. Police presence obviously is something that is needed to be worked out – to deter potential snatch thieves and also to arrest one in action (if needed to shoot the snatch thieves in the head).

In the case of Tan Shu Fang, the good thing about the case is that the police have identified the culprits and should be arresting them soon. Hope that they will be charged with murder or a similarly heavy punishment.

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