As opposed to the past years, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) has now taken more active steps as well as the change of strategy in their approach and efforts to reduce the number of road deaths and accidents in the country. The number of fatalities normally spikes during the festive period due to the increased number of vehicles traversing the busy roads.
This year’s safety campaign by the Road Safety Department, themed ‘Berhati-hati dalam perjalanan, selamat ke destinasi’ is complemented by JPJ’s National Blue Ocean Strategy that focuses on ‘Perception of Being Caught (POBC)’ amongst motorists and road users. Malaysia currently ranks the third highest South East Asian country for road deaths in the region.
The joint agency operations which kicked off on 1st of February has seen a total number of almost 6000 vehicles inspected in the first day, including 475 buses. Of these vehicles, 1782 were found to have ran foul of the law. These includes driving with expired driving licenses as well as expired road tax and registration. Through the period of Feb 1-16, these checks will continue in 29 separate bus terminals.
From the 475 public buses that were inspected, only 2 were found to have minor infringement (driving with tyres that have minimum thread) whereas another had ‘technical infringement’ which involved the windscreens. None of the bus drivers tested positive for drugs, which is illegally used by drivers to keep alert during long journeys.
These checks and enforcement are designed to keep both drivers and transport operators on their toes in order to reduce the number of accidents, adds JPJ Dir of Enforcement, Datuk V.Valluvan in his media conference aimed at providing vital information and strategies to roadusers. The aim of sharing these details is the key element to inform roadusers that they are ‘being watched’ (POBC) by the 4500 JPJ enforcement officers on motorcycles and 4WDs which will patrol the highways and rest stops throughout the first 16 days of February.
A further 100 officers will go undercover and ride in buses, a strategy that worked well in 2015, when a total of 117 fines were issued to drivers and operators for offences on the road. Incidentally, from the urine tests conducted in 2015 during the CNY period, a total of 16 drivers were charged in court for the use of drugs, traced through their urine samples.
In addition, heavy vehicles are not allowed on the road on 6, 7, 13 and 14 of February. Datuk Vallu also encouraged road users to continue to send in photographs of road offenders through the official email email@example.com along with details of the incident, including the complainant details.
On a softer note, a postcard and letter campaign involving schoolchildren is also planned, whereby these children can send a postcard or letter to their loved ones reminding them to stay safe on the road by observing the law.
It is hoped that all these steps taken by the joint agency operations will achieve an overall set target of lower accidents and fatalities.