The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has identified a need to equip zebra crossings with traffic signals in order to ensure that approaching vehicles stop for pedestrians crossing the road, according to a Bernama report.

It was also recommended that summonses or a demerit points system be implemented if drivers are found to have not given the right of way to pedestrians at crossings, said MIROS chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

“MIROS has conducted an observation on pedestrians and drivers’ behaviour at the signalised and unsignalised zebra crossings. Findings from the observation found that around 74% of the drivers do not give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings especially at unsignalised junctions,” Lee said.

“For signalised junctions, only 8.2% of them disobeyed the traffic rules (run red light) at zebra crossing. Meanwhile, 95.4% of pedestrians used the “crosswalk” in a proper way at unsignalised junctions and 83.1% at signalised junctions,” he added.

Surprisingly, just 8.3% of drivers were observed using their mobile phone when driving through a zebra crossing, Lee said. Meanwhile, 6.8% of pedestrians were found using their mobile phones while using the zebra crossing at unsignalised junctions, and 5.1% of pedestrians were found to do the same at signalised junctions.

A study at a local university campus found that drivers are very unwilling to stop for pedstrian crossings, according to the MIROS chairman. “Pedestrians may get a chance to cross if the vehicles are moving in groups. This situation may probably be due to the misunderstanding on the rule of the right of way at the unsignalised pedestrian crossing,” he said.

Pedestrians and vehicles are considered to be traffic bound by the Road Transport Act 1987, which was enacted to provide for the regulation of motor vehicles and traffic on roads, along with other matters with respect to roads and vehicles.