KUCHING: Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye wants the government to set up a transformation lab for lorries and trucks, similar to that of the express bus transformation lab, in the wake of two oil tanker mishaps Monday in Sarawak and Sabah.
Lee said the lab would help the authorities find mitigation efforts to help reduce the number of accidents involving lorries and the impact to other road users.
He said he hoped the lab for lorries and trucks could be made after it had completed the express bus transformation lab on April 7.
“Two separate fatal accidents involving tanker lorries in Bintulu and Lahad Datu on Monday have raised concern on road safety issues involving heavy vehicles,” he said.
In the Bintulu mishap, a tanker, carrying a load of highly flammable RON 95 fuel, exploded and burst into flames at a busy road intersection in the oil and gas town just after noon burning to death the tanker driver.
The fire from the burning tanker spread to set alight five other vehicles and a motorcycle, injuring two other motorists.
The tanker driver reportedly was speeding as as it rounded a corner.
It then hit the road divider flipping the tanker on to its side.
“I believe that the relevant agencies and the oil companies involved, which are known for their strict rules and regulations on safety, are now investigating the cases thoroughly,” Lee said.
What was important, he added, was to make the report public so that the people could know what had caused the two accidents.
“Members of the public, who are also road users, have the right to know the outcome of the investigations as it would enable them to give input on how to stop such accidents from happening in the future.
“It is important that they leave no stone unturned and find the causes of the fatal accidents and ways to avoid similar incidents from recurring in the future.”
Lee also said the tanker incidents were a surprise since petroleum companies are known for the high standard for safety and health aspects.
The bus lab was set up in January to study ways to improve the quality of service, safety and sustainability of the bus industry by gathering opinions from all stakeholders, including the public.
It was set up in response to a deadly bus crash in Pagoh in December last year which claimed 14 lives and injured 16, and the Genting bus crash in July last year which killed the driver and injured 15 passengers.
Lee said one of the reasons for accidents involving heavy vehicles is fatigue.
Other causes are the use of illegal retread tyres and their debris on highways.
“We need to be able to better monitor the drivers and ensure that they could perform up to the standards required of them.
“The government should also conduct frequent health checks on lorry drivers to ensure that they are healthy and not on drugs.”
Lee said he believed that enforcement alone is insufficient as “we need to increase awareness and participation from heavy vehicle drivers and other road users so that they could always be on alert and take precautionary measures to prevent accidents”. – dayakdaily.com