Keeping the streets safe and accident proof a top priority, says MIROS DG

Keeping the streets safe for children and other road users. Taking the Streets for Life #Love 30 pledge campaign. Photo courtesy of MIROS.

By Jeya Palakrishnar

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 – A total of 494,416 road crashes and 6,506 fatalities annually and a daily average death rate of 18 on Malaysian roads were reported between the years 2011 and 2020, according to statistics provided by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS).

The Asean Road Safety Week programme was recently organised by MIROS in conjunction with the 6th United Nations Road Safety Week launched in May this year, with the theme Streets for Life #Love30, calling on policy makers to act for low speed streets worldwide to 30km/h where people walk, live and play. 

During the week-long programme, a series of webinars and forums with the theme ‘Managing Speed’, were held to empower the Southeast Asian community to pledge the same for safer streets.

Director General of MIROS, Dr. Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim

The message and idea from the Streets for Life campaign will be included in the implementation of the Malaysia Road Safety Plan 2021-2030 which will be launched soon, said the Director General of MIROS, Ir. Ts. Dr. Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim  in response to an email query from the Weekly Echo.

The United Nations, which has been promoting safe streets for more than a decade continues to emphasis on the importance of reducing traffic accidents and finding means and ways to significantly reduce the number of accidents.

Malaysia’s very own Dato’ Michelle Yeoh, Goodwill Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals, was part of the UN Streets for Life launch.  She shed light on how she campaigned hard to secure the first Decade of Action for Road Safety and how road safety is recognised in the Sustainable Development Goals with a strong target to halve road deaths and serious injuries by the year 2030.

According to the World Health Organization, a person is killed every 24 seconds on the road worldwide, while approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes and that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults age 3 to 29 years, and death from road traffic injuries is the 8th leading cause of death for people of all ages

In June, the Sweden – Malaysia Road Safety Webinar also took place, a collaborative initiative between MIROS and The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute or Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut (VTI ), where MIROS, VTI, Vision Zero Academy, SAFER, SCANIA and Volvo Trucks made presentations on traffic safety issues.

Dr. Matts-Åke Belin, Director of Vision Zero Academy presented an interesting concept -Nudging Road Safety – a softer approach towards addressing traffic safety. For example, the cyclist nudge is based on flat transversal stripes across the road that are of closer distance to each other before an intersection, which then provides an illusion that the cyclist is going faster than actual and the cyclist reacts subconsciously by slowing down. 

This idea of nudging is introduced by MeBeSafe short for Measures for Behaving Safely in Traffic, an EU-project making traffic safer by nudging.  Nudges are believed to change behaviour subconsciously and work better than hard measures such as prohibitions, speeding tickets and speed bumps.

The Swedish Parliament passed a Road Traffic Safety Bill in October 1997 that put the Vision Zero into the Swedish law. The bill sets an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads.

For more information on Streets for life: for people and planet kindly visit: https://www.unroadsafetyweek.org/en/home

–WE