KOTA KINABALU: With increasing number of road accidents in the state of late, the relevant authorities like the State Public Works Department and the Road Transport Department should step up efforts to improve road safety, said Christina Liew, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah chairman.
“The authorities concerned should make road safety improvement their New Year’s Resolution. They should immediately sit down to discuss on how to better prevent and minimize road accidents and fatalities in Sabah,” she said in a statement.
“This includes identification of high-risk or accident-prone roads, rating them for their safety design features and identifying what counter measures can be developed to help make these roads safer for the public.
“We need to do more than just applying the existing road safety measures. Our authorities concerned should perhaps look globally to see what other solutions are being introduced overseas which might be applied here.”
Liew cited the case of Sweden for example, which has the lowest number of people killed in road accidents as their roads are built to prioritise safety over speed or convenience.
“Reducing the death toll and serious injuries on our roads is a daunting challenge that will require both conventional and unorthodox methods.
“While improving the design of the road can significantly reduce the risk of death or injury, an effective public education and enforcement of road safety measures such as the strict implementation of seatbelt use, is also a critical aspect towards achieving such goal,” she added.
She also called on the relevant authorities to install sufficient warning signage at stretches that are known to be high-risk and accident-prone, besides improving the road markings, so as to make the road safer by increasing the visibility distance for drivers.
She urged this while commenting on the accident involving an express bus and a van, at Km86 of Jalan Beluran-Telupid on Thursday, injuring all 21 passengers on board, with five of them seriously injured.
It was reported that in the 1.10am incident, the bus driver swerved to avoid hitting a van coming from the opposite direction, and lost control of the vehicle.
Liew who is also Pakatan Harapan Sabah chairman cum Api-Api Assemblywoman stressed that with tourism industry becoming increasingly significant for the state, it is only appropriate that the state government and the relevant authorities must strive to make road safety a top priority.
“High accident rates due to unsafe roads would definitely have an impact on our flourishing tourism industry,” she said.
She recalled that just last month, 16 Chinese tourists were injured in a road accident in Beaufort after the tour bus which they were travelling went out of control and crashed into a drain beside the road.