Using mobile phones while driving and riding has been identified as the main cause of road accidents in the country, according to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Liow said his ministry would ask the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) to conduct a study to show that it was a serious matter that needed to be given attention by road users, Bernama reports.

“Actually the phone has changed our lives tremendously with the creation of various applications such as WhatsApp and multimedia messages. It has also changed the question of road safety and can become very dangerous when we use it to surf the websites, take pictures or find locations while driving a car or riding a motorcycle,” he told reporters after launching the 18th Yamaha Balik Kampung Road Safety campaign.

Liow said the campaign’s ‘Focus on the road not on the hand’ theme was timely, as a study conducted by MIROS revealed that 80% of accidents were caused by human negligence, including the use of mobile phones while driving.

He added that the ministry, via relevant agencies, will set up a working committee at the district level to ensure all road safety campaigns would be implement effectively right down to the grassroots. Also on the cards is a cooperation with the Education Ministry to raise awareness on road safety regulations among students.

We give in to the temptation sometimes, but here’s a potent reminder to not reach for the phone. It can wait.