Sunday, November 13, 2005

Accidents, a seasonal issue?

The 9th Ops Sikap campaign has just ended. 233 people lost their lives, apparently an increase of 16.5% compared to the previous year. In all, 13,462 separate accident cases were reported, which was an increase compared to the previous year, where 11,609 cases were reported.

Now, we've read alot in newspapers, we've heard alot from the telly and radio, about responses and reactions to this. Everyone seems to want to give their own point of view. These views basically gives the reasons behind why so many accidents occur. ranging from drivers having dual personalities to a rise in the number of cars on the road during this festive season.

Datuk Seri Musa Hassan, the police 2nd man, in his press statement, told the Malaysian public that 70% of those accidents "were due to driver carelessness". He also gave a breakdown to the actual causes to those accidents. Wow, if you ask me, very impressive statistical analysis! (notice the sarcastical tone there...). But hold on, what were the reasons for the high number of accidents for last year's Ops Sikap? How about the previous year before that, and the one before that, and the one before that? Sheesh, a 5 year old could give the same answer if asked what the main cause of accidents is.

But let's all just take a step back from everything, and look at the bigger picture. What has been bugging me all this while is, since when accidents and people dying from accidents become a seasonal issue? Aren't the cops concerned about the number of accident cases during the rest of the year?

Since the police like to play with statistics, then let's just do that then. For the whole of 2004, the total number of accidents reported was 156,420, and 2,810 deaths. Playing percentages, that means the 2004 festive season saw less than 10% of the total incidents for the whole year! So year by year they concentrate a high number of resources and cash just for about 2 weeks of driving madness from the public which only contributes less than 10% for the whole year, yet nothing can be seen for the other 50 weeks. Erm, isn't that stupid?

Year by year, festive seasons come and go, and year by year we'll hear about all these campaigns. From Ops Pacak to Ops Statik a.k.a. Ops Statistik, to Ops Sikap, yet year by year we see no improvements to the amount of accidents. And each year they ask the same question, what went wrong? Why have the numbers gone up?

Duh...hello! Hello! Earth to the police...earth to the police... don't you see? It's not a festivity problem, it's an attitude problem! For 50 weeks, these stupid a*****e drivers have been allowed to roam freely, driving their cars and bikes like maniacs, causing accidents and deaths everywhere. And then for that 2 week period, you expect them to suddenly change and become ideal drivers, are you frickin' kidding me?!?!?

From my point of view, having a concentrated effort and campaign for festive seasons won't solve anything. What is needed is a continuous year long campaign, to try and improve driving standards, to improve drivers' attitudes, and to make people realise the importance of on road manners. Don't get me wrong, I am a passionate fan for speeding, drifting and power slides, racing, and modding up cars. But there is a time and place to show off your car's capabilities, and doing it on public roads, at the expense of public safety is a definite no no!

Some people might say that the car's safety features aren't good enough, especially for the affordable ones (I'm talking about Peroduas and Protons here). And people can't afford to buy cars with better safety features, because of the restrictions and taxes the government imposes on them. Yes, typical Malaysian attitude, always finding faults in other people. (Then again, my 'beloved' Malaysian government, please lift you protection for the local brands asap, we've had enough!!! To Proton and Peroduas, grow up and get your acts sorted out, you should be able to compete without the protection by now!) Unfortunately, even though having better safety features might actually reduce the number of deaths, but it won't reduce the number of accidents.

To be honest, trying to improve Malaysian drivers' attitude is easier said than done, check that, no one is actually saying it's easy! And it's good to see the cops trying, earning their pay. But if people are dying, like every single day of the year, why are they concentrating their efforts just for the festive season? It just doesn't make any sense at all. I do hope the cops realise this quick, and changes can be seen soon. Having 3000 less lives every year is a real waste.

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