Fresh approach needed in road safety campaigns, says Lam Thye

KUALA LUMPUR: The discontinuation of road safety campaign launches suggests that efforts to promote road safety over the years may not have been successful, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance For A Safe Community chairman said road safety events during festive seasons in the past were merely an academic and repeated approach with no target reduction percentage for road fatalities and road crashes nationwide set by the transport ministry and enforcement agencies.

"It has been the same mundane approach every year and the government was expecting different results," he said in a statement today.

Lee said the road safety events held at least twice a year – Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri – failed to reach the real target audience.

He added that past safety campaigns had little impact on motorcycle users, which recorded the highest road deaths on a daily basis especially during the "balik kampung" travel period.

"The Alliance for a Safe Community is deeply concerned that in 2023 road deaths recorded 6,433 lives lost, the highest in the last five years, higher than the 2018 road deaths statistics of 6,284.

"In fact, the increase of 7% road deaths last year as compared to the 2022 death statistics was a clear indication that the commitment, focus and willingness of the federal government to reduce and curb the road carnage had failed," he said.

Lee said since the dissolution of the Road Safety Department (JKJR) which was absorbed into Road Transport Department (JPJ) four years ago, the advocacy had been further diminished.

He questioned how JPJ could perform “double duties” as a road safety advocate and law enforcement agency.

“At the current rate, it looks like Malaysia won’t reach the ’50 by 30’ goal, a target set by the United Nations and adopted by the Transport Ministry to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2030 and beyond,” he added.

In raising awareness and to reduce road fatalities, the Alliance For A Safe Community has called on the government to take several actions.

The NGO said the ministry needs to conduct consistent and serious communication throughout the year with relevant stakeholders as outlined in the National Road Safety Plan 2022 – 2030.

“The ministry needs to be proactive and refresh its communication effort all year long to the masses by using the mainstream and alternative media including social media.”
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