It is undeniable that Malaysia possesses one of the best roadways and traffic systems, when compared with other developing nations. On the other hand also, Malaysia surprisingly too reckons as one of the countries that possesses one of the highest rate of accidents.
Some critics say, Malaysian drivers can be considered as one of the worst drivers in the world. Whether the above statement is true or not, is subject to discussion.
I feel that the problem that lies behind the above statement must surely be the lack of discipline amongst Malaysian drivers and the road users, such as motorcyclists. This article will therefore take a closer look at the irritating antics and behaviour that are constantly committed by us, Malaysia drivers and motorcyclists.
1. Using the handphone whilst driving.
Although the usage of the above commodity does not appear to be very rampant along major highways, expressways and busy roads in towns, due to the constant surveillance by the police authorities and the JPJ or Road Transport Department’s officers, one has only to take a closer look at usage of handphones especially in housing estates and village or kampong areas.
In such areas, there is a distinct lack of the presence of police officials and Road Transport officers. I have time and again seen many drivers ignoring the law of using hands-free sets while driving.
Not only are drivers ignoring the Road Transport Act 1987’s stipulation that it is illegal to use handphones whilst driving, I have also seen even motorcycle riders resorting to use handphones whilst they are riding as well. It should be reiterated that the usage of handphones whilst driving or riding motorcycles is indeed a dangerous act. Such actions can lead to accidents and other mishaps easily.
On the other hand, the usage of a handphone while riding or driving contravenes Circular K 17(A) of the RTA. If brought to court, a person can be charged under Section 119(2). It carries a fine of RM300.
2. Not wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle.
One might not see many motorcyclists riding a machine without helmets along major highways or expressways. Or for that matter, in town areas. This is because of the ever presence of the police and JPJ officials there.
But, go into the kampong or village areas, even in housing estates as well and you will see the high number of motorcyclists not using helmets. I am certain that you are bound to see many motorcycle and pillion riders going about without helmets, in total disregard for the helmet law.
According to surveys which have been carried out so far, riding a motorcycle is indeed a very dangerous act. Many people have been seriously injured. Some have been perished or died in mishaps and accidents on our roads. It has been reported that a total of 60% of our motorcyclists died on our roads due to head injuries. As a matter of fact, the head represents the most vital part of our bodies.
Are you aware that besides knee high leather boots, jackets and rugged jeans, helmets are believed to be the only protection that a rider depends on if he is involved in an accident? Our heads, are very vulnerable to massive injuries when accidents occur.
Not wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle, contravenes CICULAR K. 4MS (SH) of the Road Transport Act 1987. Under Section 119(2), the courts can very well fine you a sum of RM100 for the above offence.
If motorcycle riding or riding pillion is so dangerous, why then do our youths abstain or dislike wearing helmets while they are riding those two wheeled machines?
Amongst some of the reasons why our youths and younger generation go against this important and vital law must surely be:
i. It’s rather cumbersome to put on a helmet, they say.
This premise may be true. But one should remember that wearing a helmet, saves lives. Think carefully about it!
ii. Besides being cumbersome, many motorcyclists believe helmet ruffles one’s hair and make one look less handsome or attractive. Youths and youngsters these days are very naïve. They prefer to look attractive and beautiful. But have they ever considered the fact they might end up dead in the event that an accident were to happen?
So, it is matter of either looking attractive, good looking or being dead. That is the question that we have to think about.
3. Not observing cross junctions or simpang empat by drivers these days.
I am uncertain if drivers these days are aware of the dangers of cross junctions or simpang empat areas. Permit me to quote you a classic example of how a former driving student of mine was involved in a nasty accident which happened at a cross junction recently.
According to Mr. Tan, a goreng pisang hawker, her son, T.L. Tan, only 19 years old then, was involved in an accident with a group of mat rempits or illegal racers in the housing area where he lived. The mat rempit who crashed into Tan’s car as he was coming out from a cross junction, died as a result of the unwarranted incident. This resulted in my former driving student, having his driving license temporarily suspended.
He couldn’t drive for some time as court proceedings were instituted against him. My friend’s son was charged under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987. For your information, the mat rempit, who unfortunately died, was infact involved in illegal racing and he was said to be not wearing helmet at that particular time.
In my latest encounter with my friend, Mrs. Tan, I was informed that T.L. Tan’s court’s proceedings are now over. The boy has been cleared of any wrong doings. His license has been reportedly returned to him. He is happy that can now drive again like before.
4. Installing modified xenon lights on vehicles.
Except for factory manufactured vehicles, officials from the Road Transport Department say, motorists who modify their yellow, amber coloured lights on their vehicles to white, blinding xenon headlights, have infact contravened the rules and regulations of the Road Transport Department.
But the sad thing in Malaysia that exists today is that, more and more motorists are converting their original headlights to those blinding, xenon lights. No actions have yet been taken. Although the JPJ or Road Transport Department has repeatedly informed the public that department officials are in the process of taking stern actions against those who modify their vehicles to use xenon lights, the public has yet to see any concrete actions being taken. The public infact awaits the authorities’ move.
5. Not observing traffic lights, especially by motorcyclists.
Traffic lights, irregardless of whether it is in our country, Malaysia, Singapore or even the United Kingdom, are all intended to control the movements of traffic. Eventually, it would assist in making the movements of traffic smoother and less accidents would take place.
Sad to say, however, the above does not seem to be the case in Malaysia. Malaysians, as a whole lack discipline. As a result, drivers and other motorists, especially those who ride motorcycles, do not appear to be heeding traffic lights at all.
At traffic lights, it can often be seen that 3 out of every 10 motorcyclists will wait for a few seconds, followed by some impatient motorcyclists who will then go to beat the traffic lights eventually.
6. Installing multicoloured lights and decorative lights on cars and motorcycles.
Many motorists and motorcyclists may not be aware that the front headlamps of a vehicle should of yellow rays only. The rear lights should ideally be red in colour. The indicators or signals should be amber in colour. No other form of colours are allowed to be fixed either infront or at the rear of vehicles.
Except, for Proton Saga vehicles, which were first produced by Proton in 1988, which had V shaped blue logo as its emblem or logo infront of its engine, no other form of colours are allowed to be fixed on vehicles and motorcycles.
But unfortunately, vehicles these days seem to have all forms of colours and decorative lights fitted onto their vehicles. It is about time the authorities take stern actions against the use of such illegal lights.
7. Motorists not observing stop look go signs at junctions.
Whether it is at T-junctions or cross junctions, such places represents dangerous areas where accidents can easily take place. As such, drivers and motorists are advised to observe STOP, LOOK, GO signs, which are installed at such places.
In Malaysia, I have frequently observed the majority of Malaysian drivers however fail to stop at such places. Due to Malaysian drivers’ lack of decorum, patience and discipline, they fail to stop at designated stop, look and go signs. As a result, Malaysian drivers shoot out straight into the main road ahead without first giving way to drivers infront who infact have the right of way.
After reading this article, it is urnestly hoped that Malaysian drivers, no matter whether they are driving cars or motorcycles, will from henceforth, observe the stop, look and go signs and give way to motorists ahead. This will I’m sure, result in Malaysian drivers becoming better disciplined and courteous drivers overall.