Quote of Week – Unsafe Cars


“The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards”

(Just how many of the locally made cars had even passed the basic crash test with flying colors? If you know the answer, then you will know that we been screwed with unsafe cars for a very long time now but question is whose’ fault is it? Image source: http://news.carlist.my)

At first, I thought of commenting on some politicians saying that warnings of violence against another community are now a Malaysian norm but I remembered – it is coming from a Malaysian politician. Ya, that is pretty norm these days to be hearing them to say warning of violence is a norm especially when they don’t seems to be doing anything to curtail it.

Then I read this:-

The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, said Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.

He said many Malaysians still did not bother wearing seat belts and helmets.

“There are also no regulations to ensure that vehicles sold in Malaysia must comply with international safety standards.

“This is why there are similar models of cars sold in Malaysia but their safety features are different from those in other countries like the United States,” he told a press conference after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Research Institute of Highway here Thursday.

To prevent car manufacturers from practising such “double standards”, Dr Ahmad Farhan said the Government was constantly engaging in talks to convince them there was a growing demand for safer cars.

On why the Government did not take the initiative to make regulations that would ensure better safety features in vehicles, Dr Ahmad Farhan said: “It will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament. We believe it will be more effective if we talk to manufacturers directly.

“These days, we are getting more positive response from car manufacturers,” he said.

(Source)

Revelation by the MIROS DG is nothing new – we know for a long time now that many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, not at the price that we can afford, of course – but the sad part is his reasoning – that we Malaysians have made suckers for a long time with cheap, unsafe cars in this country because we don’t DEMAND for safer cars (what he expects us to do? Street protest on the weekends?).

Ya, I had expected something “more intelligent” from head of the agency which looks into the safety aspect of the road users in this country but his reasonings does not hold water as well.

Firstly, he says that Malaysians are blamed on poor quality of cars that is brought into this country. Why? Because they don’t bother wearing seat belts and helmets? If so, shouldn’t it be for the enforcement agencies in this country to enforce the law and hung them from the high pole? That should not be the sorry excuse for poor quality of cars in this country. Further, what about others who wear seat belts and helmets but had to content with unsafe cars because they cannot afford the more expensive but safer cars?

Secondly, he argues that it is “easier” to get the manufacturers to bring in safer cars, NOT by making strict laws that enforces minimum safety specifications of vehicles in this country but rather by “engaging in talks to convince them” that there was a growing demand for safer cars. Convince them? I could almost hear him saying that the Government is powerless against mighty & powerful car manufacturers and they have no choice but to wait and see if the car manufacturers will have change of heart to produce safer cars.

And even if the car manufacturers DO bring in safer cars, what would the cost be and how this is going to be translated to the car selling price. Already, we are paying big money unnecessarily for poor built cars in this country compared to others in the world. To add more safety features would surely means an increase of cost of research & development, manufacturing and production. Can we see cheaper but safer cars if the Government managed to convince car manufacturers that there is a demand for safer cars? You and I know that until we see the AP bullshit abolished in this country and perhaps a fairer treatment between locally made and imported cars, we are not going to see cheaper, safer cars.

And why “it will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament”. Why when the issue at hand is safety and reduction of fatality of Malaysians on the road? Is it because we have too many mindless clowns roaming the Parliament, harping on wrong issues that is facing the country?

If there is lack of enforcement, then look on how the laws can be better enforced and if there is no relevant laws, then look at how the Parliament make the necessary laws. That should be the focus of MIROS in plugging the loopholes that causes Malaysians to continue to drive unsafe cars in this country (we yet to come to education, road conditions in this country, etc). Not by blaming Malaysians (who may not have a say on what kind of car they can afford with their salary range) and sucking up to car manufacturers (who bottom line dictates their business direction).

In the meantime, we probably should add “safe cars” into the list of things to be protested…

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Pesky Motorcyclists


(I hate to see the “kid” in between the parents! I start cursing when I see a baby in between them. You think the kid will be well protected when a car hits them at 100 km/h? Poverty is one thing but stupidity is another. Image source: TV Smith’s Malaysia Truly Malaysia)

Ha, almost killed an old man on a bike this morning…

But it is not the first time that I almost killed someone on the road – on daily basis, I had to content with pesky motorcyclists who don’t give a damn when changing lanes without any indicators or without considering the traffic on the other side of the lane and who think that they are the king of the road when driving on the other side of the lane and who turn violent when we horn them to warn them and ride bikes at night without lights.

Damn, there is something wrong with the way we churn out the license for motorcyclists in this country (to think of it, there is something wrong the way we churn out license to all drivers in this country especially on the part of using the indicators before changing lanes). And despite having a section on defensive driving in the JPJ syllabus, there are too many idiots behind the wheels, posing too much danger to other road users.

According to MIROS, the statistics of motorcyclists killed over the years has been quite “impressive”. In 2009, about 4,067  motorcyclists were killed against total 6,745 whilst in 2008, it was 3,898 of them killed against a total 6,527. According to JPJ, there was about 8.9 million motorbikes registered in 2009 alone. Only God knows how many of these 8.9 million bikers are nothing but a pest on the road but based on the fatality rate, a wild guess may be about 60% of them. That is very disturbing.

I have been a motorcyclist for almost 15 years before I decided to buy a car just before I got married (it was easier to drive around for the wedding preparations). And during the whole 15 years, I made sure I kept away from the traffic’s way and always double checked before I cut into another lane. Sure, I made some silly mistakes when I was still young and just got my bike but it did not take me long before I realized that if I kept at this, I will end up dead.

And for the whole 15 years, I got into only one accident and that too was due to a stupid driver making an illegal u-turn on the wrong side of the road (he drove off before paying for my damages – I hoped he had died in some horrible accident). Between the moron who drive a car and the moron who ride a bike, the bigger moron would be the one who is riding the bike. This is because if he is involved in an accident on a 3 lane highway, his bike is not the only thing that will end up mangled.

If you driving a car or even better, if riding a bike, just how many times in a day that you would have seen a motorcyclist who endanger themselves and others?

Back to the story of the old man who I almost killed this morning. 3 lanes and the motorcyclist on the middle lane, without any tail lights. I was on the third lane, obviously faster than the motorcyclist. Just when I was about to pass him, I realized that the motorcyclist was cutting into my lane, without any indicators. I slammed my brakes and pressed on my horns, just in case, I could not stop in time. My twin Bosch horns worked wonders – the motorcyclist remained on his lane and as I passed him, I shouted at him.

The motorcyclist horn me back – the thing is I am not sure whether the horn was to thank me for saving his sorry ass early in the morning OR as usual, horn me in annoyance because they still think they are the king of the road?

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