Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Buckle up!

OK, before I start rambling, I think I find the need to remind my friends that I am never good when writing on issues afflicting the people of this country. Most of the times I allow my emotion to get the better of me and then just scrap off the whole damn thing. But this issue keeps getting on me and I just can't get over it.

It started off with the new ruling for backseat passengers to belt up some week or 2 back. One of the reasons for the new ruling is to prevent back seat passengers not wearing seat belts have a higher fatality rate than those who do, as a study by miros have supposedly shown. Fine, if its all meant for real concern towards the safety of Malaysians, I guess no one can argue about it. Then I heard on the radio that the authorities will be giving a grace period of 3 months before taking any action. That, caused my mind to think of the many Malaysian families with a size of 6 people, and insufficient income to purchase a second car - how will they be traveling to a simple once-a-month dinner outside, which maybe the only outing the family can afford? It may seem a trivial matter, but I believe it will be one that leads to many more cases of 'duit kopi' being passed around, if you get my drift.

Look, if the authorities are really concerned about the fatalities in road accidents, I personally think they are looking at it from the wrong angle. Foremost on the list should be the engineering of the road itself. There have been many times where mishaps and near it happen simply because a driver tries to avoid a deep hole on a major road. It happened to me once on the MRR2! Driving at night and on the fast lane, I could did not notice the hole and had both left rims dented! But if I had noticed the hole and tried to swerve to the left, I would have definitely more than gaze the car on that lane.

Then there's the mentality of the drivers themselves - people who drives slow on the fast lane, and fast on the slow as well as emergency lane. People who puts the signal to change lane, and affect the change at the very same time, not giving a damn whether the car behind has time to notice the signal. It happened to me on the Federal Highway where I was on the fast lane. Just in front and in the middle lane were 2 cars which I had intended to pass. But as I was about a few meters behind the 2nd car, the driver puts out her right indicator and at the same time tried to pull into my lane. I had to jam my brakes and at the same time honked loudly at her. How did that driver get her license? Under the table, perhaps.

Have the authorities conducted sufficient campaigns on road safety? I don't mean those run-of-the-mill RTM slots where even children get bored watching. But hang on, they were these 10 second bursts which I must admit, were good and effective as far as I can note. But where are they now, and why shown only on RTM? Why not Astro, the Media Prima stable, and even the private radio networks, shown as Public Message System (PMS)? Undoubtedly PMS are screened without charge by the private networks. But for every second a PMS is screened, the network gets to deduct the cost from the licensing fee they pay to Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia. And that, can be quite an amount! Why are these not put into effect?

Now, this may sound like a zany idea: how about running a Road Safety Campaign using the platform of reality TV show? Think about it. If shows like Survivor and so on so on can draw a huge audience, why can't a safety campaign with huge winning purse? Before I continue, I should stress here that some high-end car producers and main resellers, do provide for safety driving classes for their buyers. These classes known as Defensive Driving, do attract quite a large number.

Back to the Road Safety reality show, the preliminary rounds can begin with simple road rules. One would be surprised to find that many drivers either do not know, or have forgotten the simple rules like reading road signs. Then, as the level progress, so too would the difficulty of the questions and hurdles - what's that show where contestants go in pairs searching for clues all over the world? Well, that bit can be incorporated here as well! More? Well, any producer worth his salt should be able to pick up from here.

With a winning purse of RM1 million and a knock-out system like Survivor where even the audience play a role in deciding survivors - why not? when apart from road rules, ethics and driver personalities can play some part - this show would not only give its value in entertainment, but would also impart knowledge and inculcate good driving habits!

My point here is simply this: have the authorities done enough to educate the public via campaigns and what not, that they now decide to give summons to people for mishaps which may the fault may not even be theirs in the first place? As it is now, I can see the majority of those people coming from the middle to lower income group, where traveling for a family of 6 in an SUV or MPV may be a luxury they cannot afford! Have not these people enough to think of already that you now burden them with illegal taxes, because that sure as hell is the way I think the new ruling is. If any, its the authorities who should buckle up on their work!

By the way, by chance that a new reader or 2 might think I fear the ruling for my own. Then know that I do not have a family of my own to worry about currently. These are my thoughts for the people who do, and my heart goes out to them. Damn you authorities!


Kata Tak Nak said...

I like the Road Safety Reality Show concept but to make it really watchable it has got to have some dramas. Once a week, say on Saturdays the participants and put to test their road safety skills live. People do not have to vote by sms, the one kicked out of the show is the one who kicked the bucket.
Yes, the contestant who bust his brains off on the tarmac gets knock out. They will be no fancy bag being pulled by the one knocked out as in Akademi Fantasia. In this programme, body bags are used.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

Lol! If the drama you mention does become part of the reality show, then it will be rated for adults only, defeating the whole purpose :)

Then again, if such things are used as a gimmick, it just might send the message across. Good idea!

Mat Salo said...

Aiyoo Shah, apa yang di sarankan oleh Chegu tu very macabre laa - Hangpa kat Penang tu chegu macamana daa... pengguna jalanraya sana semua tak ambik pot. Jangan-jangan sedut pot. He-he.

Just curious. Ini rear seat belt 1st world country dah ada yang implement ke? How about Singpor? Or Marika?

baez-kun said...

omg i couldnt agree more wif this very statement

'then there's the mentality of the drivers themselves'

inilah sepatutnya yang diubah yah!

mentaliti orang malaysia patut diubah, dari kekurangajaran ketika memandu (malahan KL mendapat jolokan pemandu yang rude abad ini)kepada tertib jalan raya

kursus memandu hanya syarat agaknya, mendengar 10 jam tetapi tiada berguna

mungkin juga jalan terlampau cantik jadi semua org pecut laju2


cakapaje said...

Salam MS,

lol! Bro, Cikgu berjenakalah! But even in that, there's some truth in it.

Bro, as far as I know, only US have this ruling. But whether its enforced or not, that's a different story. Still, can you imagine the scenario kat Malaysia where the some people in uniform may take advantage of the situation.

cakapaje said...

Salam baez,

Memang mentaliti kita di Malaysia perlukan satu penghijrahan, termasuklah diri saya sendiri. Namun, ianya lebih mudah diperkatan dari dilakukan - satu perbuatan yang perlu berterusan, satu perjuangan yang tiada akhirnya.

Anyway, jalan jalan kat Malaysia ini indah khabar dari rupa. Kat poskad, begitu handal sekali. Bila memandu, huruhara selalu terjadi - terlalu banyak lopak yang membahayakan pengguna, terutama mereka yang menggunaka motosikal.
Speed, does not kill; carelessness and ignorance does.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Tumpang lalu Shah,
Penang drivers memang notorious, so that reality show kena buat di Penang. Saya sekarang dah jadi born again motorcyclist. Last month I bought a bike and gave the car to my youngest to go to work. Nak buat macam mana kan I am only a teacher. Tapi in Penang motor la yang best sekali, real fast, kalau kereta, mampoih.

cakapaje said...

Actually Cikgu, pakai motor kat bandar is the most logical thing to do, what with all the traffic snarl and so on. Were I alone, perhaps I too would be using a bike.

tokasid said...

Salam Shah:

What Road safety campaign?
You mean during Hari raya and CNY?

I thought that was telling us to balik kampung coz mum and dad is waiting with lemang ketupat rendang and kueh bakul and pelita and angpows and not to forget mercun.And meriam too to test our teenagers' ingeniusity or stupidity.

I am sorry but when it comes to Safety Road campaigns I think it all boils down to money.
Do you know who is going to produce all the seat belts?

The aim is good.No doubt about it. It can reduce mortality rate.

But like you said, we are barking at the wrong tree.

About our roads,I think the design and engineering stuff is okay. The problem starts when building these roads and highways. Does the contractors really follow the designs? I heard from an engineer frend,most of the time these contractors will 'cilok' here and there with the materials used,with the thickness of each layers and whatever they can 'cilok'.

Ppl will say isn't there the project engineers to oversee the projects.Of course there are.many of them. But certain dollar or ringgit signs are too strong to resist,if you get my drift.

And did you notice another thing about our roads?
Somehow, there will always be some roadworks to be done. First there is the Syarikat Air to do the first korek-ing. A new set of pipes.Once finished someone will come and 'resurface' the korek-ed part. 99.9% the 'resurfaced' part will sink about 6 inches,forming a drainlike lane.
Then someone will come and start to korek another part of the road,maybe for telecommunication lines.The 'resurfaced'again with the same drain lane forming after a week.

These drain-lane are the major cause of motorcycle accidents esp in rural area esp at night.
With no streetlights, motorist somehow will drive their motorcycle into these drain-lane at presto! Another candidate for the casualty unit or a nearby GP!

And our ever famous driving attitude especially the younger drivers. I know coz I was once a young driver too with high level of testosterone when at the wheels.

You can see these reckless drivers everyday esp on the highway.They will zig-zag their modified Kancils and satrias thinking they are Alonso or hamilton or Alex Yoong.

The main problem in this country is attitude.Drivers' attitude and enforcement agencies' attitude.

The JPJ coffer(or coffin like the tempe XMB said) will hit top in no time.And with the we'll-get-you-dark-tainted-car owners too.

Whatever it is, Berhati-hati di Jalanraya.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Doc,

I did not want to mention many of the things you did, otherwise my entry would be super long that even BERNAS would want to buy! :)

Yes, the road safety campaign cost money, but it will be money well spent when compared to what's being doled out by RTM.

With regard to road engineering, that is precisely my point - its been thrown out in exchange for the RM! Further, detours have to be made just because certain politicians deem it so - so gomen must buy their land!

Talking about streetlights, have you noticed the whole stretch from Nilai to KLIA interchange, how brightly lighted it is! Compare that to some streets in town, you would think those streets are in the jungle and the KLIA stretch a whole city by itself!

How I hate this gomen.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

trust me boss, this campaign is going to be a one-off thing. the enforcement will be for the first few months and after that it will be back to where it used to be. whats new? those with more than 6 family members fret not. let the issue die down and they can take the whole family for dinner again, all to be tagged along...end of story...hooray.

cakapaje said...

Salam kerpie,

Bro, welcome back man!

With regards to the issue, I just hope you are right. Otherwise, lots of people will be paying 'duit kopi' or make lots of noise. The latter, I don't mind, its the former that irks me.

mOEha Aziz said...

Salam shah,

An interesting issue indeed. I can't agree more. This is actually has becoming a disease here in Malaysia. The authorities seemed not to conduct a thorough research. They might has a point yet when it comes to implementation... hakuna matata?

The public also has becomed to self centered. I used to manage to cross the road safely and without fear in the good old days... I guess the authorities and the media people has succeeded. Their campaign of 'drift, racing' is indeed a huge success....

Minci said...

I hope they wont implement the rule we have here of children with height less than 130cm must be put in baby seats. duh.. thank go i'm 11 cm taller.. :P

as of safety driving.. i think the biggest fault is in the person behind the wheel. pandulah dgn berhemat. kalau ngantok, gi lah rehat! kalau mabuk, surolah kawan yg tk mabuk drive. bawaklah byk bersabar dan pandulah ikut had kelajuan.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Muha,

The problem here in Malaysia and in many parts of the world is that, the researches conducted have been faithful to the specifications given, but it is the specifications given and how the results of those researches are translated which leads to some doubts.

Hakuna matata...? I think its Polynesian (Tahiti, Fiji etc), but I don't know what it means :)

cakapaje said...

Salam Minci,

Lol! If they implement the ruling to be for 142cm and below, I will gladly assist you into the seat :)

Aiks...? Cam perli je :) But, I'm a safe driver, insyAllah. Have always followed the rules, unless the rules does not make sense lah! :)