PUTRAJAYA: With 6,000 deaths recorded in 2019, a multi-year plan is in the works to reduce road fatality figures by 50% by 2030, starting with a road safety campaign as more than 1.5 million vehicles hit the road this Chinese New Year season.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong says it is essential to advocate good values and discipline among motorists as this can contribute to fewer road mishaps.

“Even with enforcement, being aware of one’s responsibility as a motorist can prevent accidents and ultimately, deaths.

“That is why the plan is to go big on creating awareness among road users,” he said after launching the Road Safety Plan 2022-2030 and the Chinese New Year road safety campaign.

Dr Wee said that during the movement control order in 2020, there were 418,237 road accidents with 4,634 deaths recorded.

“Although statistics saw a 25% decline compared with the previous year (2019), we need to be mindful that these accidents occurred during a lockdown.

“This brings us back to the importance of advocacy,” he added.

Dr Wee also spoke about the importance of road safety awareness during his virtual meeting with Grab group chief executive officer and co-founder Anthony Tan.

“I have asked them to ensure their riders follow road regulations and not to chase for trips as an excuse to flout the law. Their safety and that of other road users are important,” he said.

He said his ministry would continue to engage with e-hailing services and their riders to keep them updated on public policies and rules.

The minister also called on road users to exercise care while on the road during the Chinese New Year celebration, when the number of vehicles on the road is expected to surge.

Some 2,200 Road Transport Department (JPJ) enforcement personnel will be involved in the Chinese New Year operations to reduce accidents and deaths on the road during the festivity.

Dr Wee said JPJ officers would also disguise themselves as passengers and travel on express buses between Jan 25 and Feb 8 to monitor bus drivers.

“Monitoring will be done at 14 locations along the expressway, and special ops on motorcycles will be held nationwide.”

He said advocacy and educational activities would also be carried out as part of the Chinese New Year road safety campaigns, including media campaigns and voluntary vehicle inspections by Puspakom.

“When we are still fighting Covid-19, it is important we do not burden our health system with high accident statistics. In fact, accidents figures should be reduced as much as possible,” he added.

The minister noted there were 23,208 road accidents with 230 deaths reported during Ops Selamat in 2020, adding that the figures recorded within two weeks of the campaign were worrying.

“This is an indication that road safety literacy among road users has yet to reach a satisfactory level.

“That is why we will have more advocacy programmes to drum the importance of discipline and responsibility into motorists,” he said.