Despite the reduction in road traffic since March in view of various restrictions on movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia continues to record a high number of road deaths, with 3,539 reported up to September last year, far higher than the Covid
KUALA LUMPUR: In the last 11 years, Malaysia has recorded a staggering 78,000 deaths due to road crashes. This is an average of 7,090 lives lost every year, or 19 killed every day.
Despite the reduction in road traffic since March in view of various restrictions on movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia continues to record a high number of road deaths, with 3,539 reported up to September last year, far higher than the Covid-19 deaths for 2020.
From data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic injuries are the global number one cause of deaths for those aged five to 29 and the eighth leading cause of deaths overall.
Every day an estimated 3,700 people are killed on the road around the world, or 1.35 million annually. Another 50 million people are seriously injured in crashes each year, with many left crippled and unable to work. This costs governments 3-5% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“We should keep in mind that these deaths and injuries are completely preventable,” said Bloomberg Philanthropies (BP) director of public health Kelly Henning in a statement.
With a poor track record of road mayhem in the last 30 years, exacerbated by the high death rate of motorcyclists, Malaysia has been selected by the New York-based body, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to be part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS). This programe will run through 2025.
The countries involved in Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. (Bloomberg Philanthropies pic)
It is understood that a meeting was held between then transport minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook, alongside the ministry’s officials, and the BP strategic team last February at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden.
“Since Stockholm, we have been working (with the BP team) on vital strategies, focusing on smart communications,” said Wong Yau Duenn, director of the road safety division under the Road Transport Department (JPJ).
Malaysia is one of 15 countries selected by BP. The others are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam.
The BP statement said it supported the efforts of up to 30 cities to implement programmes like media campaigns to raise the awareness of risk factors, provide training on police enforcement, and redesigning high-crash, high-fatality corridors or intersections.
With a pledge of US$240 million (RM965 million) for the six-year programme for the 30 cities worldwide, including those in Malaysia, the BIGRS goal is to save 600,000 lives and prevent up to 22 million injuries in low- and middle-income countries.
According to Forbes, research funded by BIGRS had shown that countries could have a 7-22% additional increase in GDP per capita over 24 years if they halved road fatalities and injuries.
The 2020-2025 phase is a continuation of its initial commitment of US$260 million since 2007 in 10 countries — China, Russia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Kenya, Brazil, Turkey and India.
This initiative is credited with saving 312,000 lives and ensuring stronger road safety legislation in 12 localities.- FMT