Crash accident collision

The government has been asked to audit highways in the country, given the rising number of fatalities from accidents, The Star reports. The call was made by road expert Dr Muhammad Marizwan Abdul Manan, senior researcher with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).

He questioned why no audits by independent bodies had been carried out despite the high fatality rate from accidents on highways, and said that with the lives of the toll-paying public at stake, these actions were necessary.

“Statistics show that 70% are single accidents (not involving other vehicles) and about 30% are due to faulty roads. But do the highways have features or barriers that could save lives? It’s a basic thing. Everything should and must be audited. If audits can be done in departments, why can’t they be done on our Malaysian highways?” he said.

He stated that an audit should cover the East Coast Expressway 2 (LPT2), which has seen 85 deaths and 1,991 accidents since its opening in 2011.

He said that highway designers would never compromise on safety, but questioned if the actual building had fully complied with the design parameters or if construction was done to specifications. As an example, he pointed out that certain stretches of highways were bumpy (due to unequal settlement) and created “water ponds” when there was heavy rain.

“Many will tell us that the highways are built according to international designs. I agree with that. But were the design specifications followed through during the construction? Independent auditors will be able to tell us that,” said Dr Muhammad, who was involved in the designing of the LPT2 some 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Terengganu government has said it will take prompt measures to curb fatal accidents on the LPT2, Bernama reports.

These will include stationing Malaysian Civil Defence Department teams along the route and placing more signboards as well as getting the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) to identify high-risk areas, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman told reporters. The highway concessionaire will also be asked to allow more kiosks to be set up on the route’s rest and recreation areas.

Negligence was identified as the main cause of fatal accidents on the LPT2, Ahmad Razif said, with most cases occurring during the day and along straight stretches of the expressway. He however said that the state government gave its assurance that the wavy stretches along the route had been remedied, and the highway was safe for use.