265 killed in Malaysian traffic accidents during Eid Al-Fitr holidays

By NNN-Bernama,

Kuala Lumpur : A total of 265 people were killed in traffic accidents during the recent holidays for the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr festival which saw millions of Malaysians making their way to their home towns to spend the holidays with their families.

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However, Royal Malaysia Police Traffic Division chief Abdul Aziz Yusof said the increase in the death toll in the police operation conducted in conjunction with the festive period — Ops Sikap XX — which ended last Sunday, did not reflect the failure of the operation.

Rather, it was seen as a wake-up call to road users in the country, added Abdul Aziz, who noted that although the death toll was higher than that during the same period last year, the average number of fatalities was slightly lower at 17.7 per cent compared with 17.8 per cent in 2008.

He said this was despite the registration of 800,000 new vehicles and 500,000 more vehicles using the North-South Expressway (NSE), bringing the total to two million vehicles, compared with 1.5 million last year.

“Therefore, we cannot just look at the fatalities statistics but at the whole picture. The increase reflects the attitude of some Malaysian drivers who have yet to change their habits on the road,” he told a media conference Tuesday.

In the 20th Ops Sikap, 265 deaths were reported compared with 208 for last year’s edition while the number of accidents increased by 1,339 to 17,335 from 15,996 last year and 152,745 summonses were issured compared with 124,581 last year.

He said there were still many road users flouting traffic laws with 80 per cent of fatal accidents resulting from the recklessness of road users. “Most of the fatal accidents result from speeding until they lose control of their vehicles, not being able to overtake on time and going into the wrong lane,” he said.

“Motorcyclists, meanwhile, are still the biggest contributor to fatal accidents accounting for 55.9 per cent and 148 deaths, while most of the fatal accidents were recorded at federal roads with 105 accidents or 43.6 per cent of 241 of all fatal accidents.”

Abdul Aziz said education, engineering and emergency feedback, not just enforcement, were important in reducing traffic accidents.

Police would not compromise with those committing traffic offences which could lead to fatal accidents, like speeding not heeding the red light, overtaking at double lines, queue-jumping and misusing the emergency lane, he said.

“Ops Sikap is conducted to change the attitude of road users. As long as they are still keeping to old habits, we will keep seeing a rise in fatal accidents despite all the efforts taken to curb it,” he added.

Abdul Aziz said the police had received a lot of feedback and suggestions from the public on reducing the rate of fatal accidents, especially during festive seasons, and would implement them if found to be suitable.