Malaysia has one of the best roads systems in the world. However, our roads system has turned into a war zone where on an average, we have more than 18 deaths a day on Malaysia roads. The human factor of course plays an important role.
The express bus accident near Rawang is a classical example of history repeating itself. It demonstrates clearly that we never learn. The enforcement agency of JPJ is full of thunder but signifying nothing. Every time after an express bus crash with many deaths, we are promised that an enquiry will be conducted. The results of these enquiries have never been revealed to us.
What is appalling is that every time when there is a crash, we find that either the bus company or the bus driver have outstanding summons which have not been settled. The question is is there no enforcement or is there so much of hanky panky that enforcement only remains in name? In the last accident near Rawang, I read that the driver has 8 summons and the co-driver has 6 summons and 5 arrests, all for speeding. I am sure that the relevant authorities from the police to the JPJ must be aware of this. Why no action was taken?
After every accident, some senior officials or even politicians will promise action but often I have come to learn that in most of these cases, it is words that speak louder than action. I am sure punitive action can be taken against the bus company and the bus driver. Maybe it has been done and I don’t know.
The authority should revamp the whole system of licensing and enforcement. If the authorities are firm towards errant driver, I am sure our roads will be a safer one. In New Zealand and Australia and even great part of Europe, the bus driver is also the tour guide, he not only drives, as he drives, he has to do running commentary. To prevent speeding, they have to report at designated centre on their journey. From there, the authorities will know whether they are speeding or not.
I had the opportunity to travel in UK, New Zealand and part of Europe by bus and it was a pleasant drive. I observe that they drive carefully with no speeding since they know authorities will come down hard on them if they are caught violating traffic rules.
The authority should look at bus companies operating bus services. This may include drivers’ remuneration and benefits, hours of driving and frequency of trip. To pack the drivers’ remuneration to the frequency of trip without consideration for the welfare of the driver and the passengers should be condemned. There should be a more enlightened system of reward and punishment.