Many pedestrians killed in traffic accidents each year, statistics show: Malaysia
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - A large number of pedestrians are getting killed in traffic accidents each year, the majority of them children and senior citizens.
The deaths were the result of hit-and-run accidents, jaywalking, crossing busy roads and dangerous driving, among others.
On average, 562 pedestrians are killed annually - mostly in urban areas - in the past three years, according to police statistics.
Karen Goonting, who heads the human factors and accident costing unit at the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, highlighted other police statistics which showed that 40 per cent of pedestrian casualties were children, with at least 40 per cent of them killed or severely injured.
Most of the victims were aged six to 10, she said.
Pedestrians aged 66 to 70 years made up the highest number of fatalities, according to the statistics.
While pedestrian deaths only represented less than 10 per cent of the total of road accident fatalities each year, the number recorded was a cause for concern.
Federal traffic chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Abd Aziz Yusof said pedestrians ranked third in road fatalities, after motorists and motorcyclists.
"That's quite a high number. Measures to reduce this must be taken as soon as possible," he said.
SAC Aziz said pedestrians were easily one of the most vulnerable people on the road, so they must take extra precautions and remain vigilant at all times.
He advised pedestrians to always use pedestrian pathways and crossings.
Goonting agreed. "More than 70 per cent of pedestrian casualties happened because people did not use the facilities provided or they crossed roads at the wrong places," she said.
SAC Aziz called on the local authorities to have more facilities for pedestrians, especially sidewalks. "It would be good for everyone if more of such facilities are built," he said.
According to him, motorists too have a role to play in ensuring the safety of pedestrians.
"They should be mindful of pedestrians and not bully them," he said. "They should be more considerate towards pedestrians.
"Mutual respect between the two groups is vital towards reducing the number of pedestrian deaths."
Drivers and motorcyclists are required by law to provide right of way to pedestrians. They can be fined up to RM300 per offence, under Section 75 of the Road Transport Act.
The Act subjects pedestrians to the same penalty if they cross a road within 100m of an overhead bridge or zebra crossing, or if they are caught jaywalking.