Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Talk

We are all so saddened by news reports that 27 people were killed when the double-decker bus they were in overturned and crashed into a rocky slope along the Simpang Pulai-Kampung Raja road, about 15km from Kuala Lumpur, yesterday (Monday).

It is the worst road accident in the country.

It is happening again.

How many times have we learnt that the driver of an ill-fated bus was slapped with X number of summons, that the bus was carrying more passengers than allowed, or that the bus was not road-worthy?

Right now, we do not have a clue what happened -- whether the driver who was among those killed, was speeding and lost control of the bus, or fell asleep and for that nano second of slumber crashed into the divider ...or whether the road was slippery, or the bus had a faulty brake.... We don't know.

What we do know is that a hell of a lot of people were killed in that single crash. That bus crash was not the first, and I'm sure is not the last.

I don't know about this particular bus driver. But I have seen express buses speeding on the highway.

But you know what I mean. A lot of Malaysian motorists and drivers are a very selfish and reckless lot.
They make illegal u-turns along highways, they beat traffic lights, they weave in and out of traffic in a very dangerous manner, they overtake other vehicles at nasty spots...

You know, you don't have to go out to the highway...just around your neighbourhood roads and you can see that bad attitude among our motorists.

And motorists will continue with that attitude because they know they can get away with it. Our traffic enforcement is not regular and consistent. I'm not going to make a sweeping statement that our traffic policemen are corrupt so that's why motorists dare go about their reckless ways. But the fact is that those reckless motorists do dare go about their reckless ways.

Our roads are generally good. I have been a motorist long enough to conclude that Malaysian drivers are impatient and if they can break any traffic rule, they will, without a care.

I laugh when I see cones lined up along the some roads to prevent motorists from making turns over double-lines where they shouldn't. You see, Malaysian drivers don't have respect for double lines, or any traffic sign that indicates "no".

I think our roads have the most number of speed-breakers and road humps in the entire world! Even in our neighbourhood roads. Can you imagine that and what it says of us?

I don't know what the L-drivers learn in driving schools. But I think L-drivers should learn more than traffic signs. They should learn about good driving and good atittude and respect for human lives.

You know...there was a time when buses were the transport of choice for long journeys. Not any more.

But the truth is, for so many people, buses are still the only mode of transport they can afford.

As for the road tragedy, the authorites willl just have to find out what happened, and work out ways to prevent more of such accidents from happening.

And there must be a will and a commitment to make sure that whatever measures taken, will be effective and long-term.


Anonymous said...

Was shocked to learn that a double-decker bus was used on cameron highland roads. Double-decker??!! Wasn't that an accident just waiting to happen?

Unfortunatly, it looks like it will keep on recurring. A typical reaction to a tragic accident:

1) Media report
2) Horrific reaction
3) Meeting
4) Statement
5) Analysis

What should be done:

1) All of the above
2) Rules & Regulations
3) Enforcement

Personal observation of buses on highways:

1) Speeding. Often above 120 km per hour.
2) Overtaking at highspeeds.
3) Talking on handphone while driving.

Reason given by bus drivers:

1) Ego. Driving slowly is not manly. Driving fast and reaching destination on time or reaching earlier means driver is efficient.
2) Trips based on comission. More trips more money. Some are forced to make more trips.
3) Some are high on drugs.
4) Don't care attitude. Some have couldn't care less attitude. Some state low pay and long working hours as reason for them having a could-not-care less attitude or so-what attitude.

Don't let Malaysia be labeled as a Scary Place to Be.

Anonymous said...

It's like asking a woman to jog in high heels. Common sense la. How can a double decker go on winding and hilly roads like Cameron? Gila ka?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

As long as there is a lack of enforcement, nothing's going to change. Remember the ban on heavy vehicles plying certain highways at peak hours? One month down the road and they're breaking the laws again. Ho hum.

Peng said...

Unfortunately this is an all too often read about scenario. Our government needs to get serious about enforcement and punishment. Until there are consequences a lot of people / companies will continue to thumb their nose at the written laws.
The government should consider taking a leaf out of this book ... 51 years jail for the loss of 3 lives in a drunk driving accident. http://www.smh.com.au/world/drunk-driver-jailed-for-51-years-for-death-of-los-angeles-angels-pitcher-nick-adenhart-20101223-195w1.html

Mr Bojangles said...

You sure have a lot of homilies for this disease that keeps breaking out ever so often. One incident like this is one too many.

But those with some leverage, like the media, instead of barking up the same tree and pretending they've done a public service, should take the extra step.

Hold the authorities accountable. Remind them of their promises to cut down on this carnage. Tell them their heads should hang with shame every time this thing happens. Yes, show them what is done in civilized countries where the person where the buck stops will fall on his sword or keris or just quit for not doing his job. And make sure that happens.

Bleating the same mantras will not work. The public is tired of this. More than that they are helpless compared to those media czars wielding the pen or keyboard.

You think any Minister or DG or policeman or Puspakom or Miros really care unless they are directly involved? With a boot up their rears when they do not perform. The time for making hollow noises and piously beating drums is over.

The press should just train their guns on the right targets. And please don't make noises in public then go behind doors and enjoy rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty. There is a word for that. In cool plush surroundings the plight of the ordinary Abu, Aru, and Ah Chongs are easily forgotten.Use your leverage to force change. Start at the top. Then the rest will follow.

MAthin2 said...

I don't think this accident is not the usual reckless norm. The bus is probably 'new' and there was a co-driver. I have driven on the said road to Cameron Highlands a few times and it's so winding that I don't think any driver can fall asleep that easily (unlike when on the straight NSE). Most likely, the driver was inexperienced in driving on slopes, burned out the brakes going downhill and lost control. Whatever the reasons, I agree with you that the normal reaction from the authorities on such accidents is frustrating. Let's hope that this time, the public fury for real reform would be stronger than the ever sickening profit-is-more-important-than-lives excuse from the bus lobby.