Panel Calls For Mandatory Safety Audits For All Roads

Dated : 21 Feb 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to establish a policy requiring mandatory audits for all roads nationwide to ensure safety standards can be consistently complied with.

This was one of the recommendations made in a report on the Genting Highlands bus crash in August last year by an independent advisory panel, chaired by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, released by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) yesterday.

The report said many of the issues related to the Genting accident were “institutional and system-based”, giving rise to the possibility that the problems are not isolated cases but are instead the norms for the country.

With this view, the panel said, the proposed recommendations would not only be specific to this case but also applicable to the transport industry as a whole.

The report said the Genting accident, which claimed 37 lives, was due to speeding and other factors, including issues pertaining to road design; vehicle technical requirements and standard operating procedures (SOP); lack of enforcement of SOPs by related agencies; ineffective emergency response and rescue measures; and general attitudes on road safety.

It said that, based on police statistics from 2008 to 2011, several locations along the Batang Kali-Gohtong Jaya road in Genting were identified as accident-prone areas.

Other recommendations included locations with high number of crashes to be identified via risk mapping, using standard guidelines on road design and signage on all roads nationwide, high performance safety barriers to be installed at identified sections and for relevant authorities to upgrade current design specifications for all hilly roads.

The panel’s proposal to form a National Transportation Safety Board was submitted to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein a month ago, following investigations into the Genting incident.

Hishammuddin was reported in January as saying the proposal would be tabled in Parliament and that it would be the first such body in the Asean region to boost road, sea and air safety.

“As chairman of the independent panel, I thank Datuk Seri Hishammuddin for the trust given to us to study the various reports submitted by Miros and other relevant agencies pertaining to the Genting bus crash,” said Lee.

He said that during the review and evaluation process, a total of 82 reports and documents had been made available to the panel.

“I’m also glad the government has made the report public, in accordance with the wishes of the panel. It is history-making for Malaysia,” he said.

“It demonstrates the minister’s commitment to tackle road safety challenges in a transparent way. The panel welcomes such a responsible and appropriate approach in the interest of road safety and that of the public.”

Asked for details on the proposed National Transportation Safety Board, Lee said he remains unsure of when its formation would be, and that the appointment of its chairman would be for the government to decide.

“Its full operation would provide an effective platform to identify opportunities for safety improvement, as well as monitoring the implementation of road safety initiatives and their effectiveness,” he said

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