Rewards for good drivers still on the cards

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

The government, in collaboration with the General Insurance Association Malaysia, is on track to introduce a reward system for drivers with clean track record, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said.

He said both parties are in the final stage of discussions to introduce a mechanism to provide incentives or discounts for motorists who do not have summonses or outstanding summonses with the authorities.

The proposal, mooted by Loke after taking charge of the ministry last year, has received industry feedback, with discussion still underway for a proper mechanism.

“We are still in talks, so I cannot announce anything yet. But we will work together with the Road Transport Department and Royal Malaysia Police for their data.

“For example, drivers with no summons may receive certain incentives on (insurance) premiums,” Loke told reporters after launching the “Drive for Life” campaign by Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Malaysia (Bosch AA) and Petron Malaysia Refining and Marketing Bhd yesterday.

Loke said road safety remains one of the government’s key concern areas.

“According to the 2017 national transport statistics, 533,875 road accidents were reported with 6,740 casualties.

“Although the same statistics showed that road fatalities have dropped from 7,152 people in 2016 to 6,740 in 2017, this is a mere 6% reduction and certainly not a performance we can be proud of,” the minister said.

Loke said in line with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, the ministry has drawn up a strategic plan with a goal to reduce road accidents by 50% by 2020 through five strategic pillars: Road safety management; safer mobility and road; post-accident management; safer vehicles; and safer road users.

He said organisations like Bosch AA and Petron Malaysia can play an important part in ensuring safer vehicles on the road through the use of quality auto parts.

“Safe vehicles play a critical role in averting crashes and reducing the likelihood of serious injuries,” he said.

Under the Strategic Pillar of Safer Vehicles, Loke said the focus will be on the deployment of improved vehicle safety technologies for passive and active safety.

“We intend to pursue this through a combination of harmonising with relevant global vehicle safety standards, and consumer information schemes and incentives. “In addition, to further improve vehicle safety, we will also be enforcing automotive component standards in the market.”

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that for every road traffic death, there are 15 serious injuries and 70 minor injuries.

“Using this proportion, about 100,000 families in Malaysia are devastated annually by deaths and serious injuries, disabilities or hospitalisations.

“In fact, according to WHO data, more people lost their lives from road accidents than from non-communicable diseases,” he added.

Under the campaign, Bosch AA and Petron Malaysia will strive to raise awareness among drivers on the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and the usage of quality car parts.

The three-year long campaign will be implemented in three phases.

The programme will include a series of workshops to educate drivers on basic car maintenance, work with other partners for first-time drivers and partner technicians and mechanics.

A survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 50% of Malaysian drivers lacked the basic knowledge in car maintenance and its impact on road safety.

From the same survey, about 70% of car breakdowns were caused by battery malfunctions, with less than 50% of drivers knowing how to troubleshoot their cars during breakdowns.

The campaign will kick off with Petron Malaysia providing free vehicle inspection services in four locations prior to the holiday season.

The inspection will involve a 25-point check on battery conditions, engine oil and fluid levels, tyre threads and brake pad thickness.