Thursday, March 22, 2007

Every 10 minutes 23 Road Users are Dying Worldwide

Every 10 minutes at least 23 road users lose their lives while another 1,000 people are seriously injured due to road accidents worldwide.

Most of the deaths occurred in developing countries, raising alarm bells that fatalities from road accidents would overtake AIDS as the leading cause of unnatural deaths by 2020.

These are among some of the startling statistics revealed during a briefing by the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) to the Pahang state agencies during their stop here recently.

Among those who attended were representatives from the police, Road Transport Department, Road Safety Department, Public Works Department and the state Road Safety Council.

The iRAP briefing was conducted by technical officer Paul Van Damme of the ARRB Group.

He said iRAP had been adopted in 30 countries worldwide with Malaysia being the first in the Asian region to take up the programme.

"Presently, we are conducting pilot studies here, South Africa, Costa Rica and Chile.

"Our survey is funded by Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA) and Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM)," he said.

Van Damme said so far, AAM had allocated RM200,000 towards the purchase of the survey vehicle, equipment and other operational cost.

He said Malaysia was chosen at the request of AAM through its affiliation with FIA and the fact that the Malaysian government was very supportive of road safety measures, in addition to having a comprehensive set of data.

Road Safety Department assistant director Raymond Teoh said the survey would assess over 3,000km of roads in Peninsular Malaysia.

He said so far, the survey team had covered more than half of the journey, mostly along federal and coastal roads.

"Our next stop will be Johor and Malacca before going back to our headquarters in Putrajaya.

"The information we collected through three surveillance cameras would be analysed before a rating is given to the roads.

"A rating of four star means the road is very safe while one is the least," he said to questions from members of the press.

Teoh said the results of the survey would be made public in a special ceremony in July.

"It is up to the Government and the relevant authorities to take up the recommendations by the survey team.

"This is a good start in making Malaysian roads safer with strategic partners to complement one another," he said.

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