ALMOST every day, we come across scenes of road accidents either while driving or browsing social media news feeds.
More often than not, the online postings are accompanied by some pictures of damaged vehicles and concerned passers-by who help on the spot by providing victims with some comfort while help is on the way.
Sarawak Traffic Investigation and Enforcement chief Supt Alexson Naga Chabu believes the frequency of road accidents can be reduced or avoided in the first place.
“Based on statistics, most road accidents, including the fatal ones, have been caused by careless or inconsiderate driving.
“From Jan 1 to June 30, Sarawak recorded a total of 7,423 road accidents, most of which involved rear-end and head-on collisions, self-accidents (speeding and veering off the road), and accidents at junctions.
“Careless driving caused a total of 2,100 accidents or 28.3 per cent of rear-end collisions in the state between January and June this year,” he said.
Alexson added that 1,798 single vehicle accidents (24.2 per cent), 1,378 accidents at junctions (18.6 per cent), and 53 head-on collisions (6.1 per cent) were caused by human behaviour.
“That’s why the number of accidents can be reduced or avoided if road users are more considerate.”
On a positive note, he said road accidents dropped by 29.9 per cent over the same period last year, which saw a total of 10,570 cases.
Besides learning to be more courteous on the road, Alexson advised road users to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
“It will greatly help if drivers can identify the risks, anticipate the dangers, and avoid them by practising defensive driving. Drivers should know that like them, everybody wants to be comfortable driving and safe in getting to their destination.”
He also advised drivers to always use the indicators before turning into a junction or while changing lanes.
Drink driving has been hotly debated among netizens and politicians as posing a grave danger to road users, especially in Peninsular Malaysia. In Sarawak, efforts are ongoing to keep the problem at bay.
According to Alexson, over the past year, not a single accident due to drink driving had been recorded but there had been cases of drivers being pulled over, breathalysed and found to have exceeded the alcohol limit in their blood.
Under Section 45A of the Road Transport Act 1987, a person must not exceed the permitted limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood while driving.
In 2019, a total of 136 arrests had been made in 93 operations in various parts of the state and all the cases had been prosecuted in court and the offenders sentenced.
Between January and June this year, 67 drink driving offenders were arrested under Section 45A of the Road Transport Act 1987 in 55 operations in major cities or towns. Out of the total, 60 or 89.6 per cent had been prosecuted while the remaining charges are pending.
Alexson noted most drivers and their passengers panicked when they got into accidents, advising they should instead try to remain calm and collect their thoughts before exiting their vehicles.
“It’s also important to remember a police report should be lodged within 24 hours of the accident. Failure to do so is an offence under Section 52(2) of the Road Transport Act 1987,” he warned.