‘Brunei can achieve zero traffic deaths’

National 3 minutes, 16 seconds


BRUNEI is one of the few countries that has the potential to achieve Vision Zero, or zero traffic-related fatalities in a year, according to the secretary general of the ASEAN New Car Assessment Programme (ASEAN NCAP) under the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research.

Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim made the remark in a keynote presentation during the opening ceremony of the National Road Safety Seminar titled “Global NCAP and ASEAN NCAP: Contribution to Safer Systems,” in which he shared the success story of the ASEAN NCAP and how Brunei can benefit from its experiences.

“Among the ASEAN nations, Bru-nei has the most potential to achieve Vision Zero. Even more so, with the implementation of the Land Transport Master Plan and the release of its white paper, if it’s implemented and done correctly, Vision Zero could become a rea-lity,” Khairil Anwar said.

Other than policies stated in the white paper, the secretary-general mentioned other methods to help achieve Vision Zero or at least reduce the number of fatalities or serious injuries that occur from road traffic accidents.

The first was to adopt a similar approach to that of the ASEAN NCAP by adopting United Nations Vehicle Regulations number 94 and 95, which relate to frontal and side collisions.

“Basically, the regulations set a minimum standard for vehicles when they get into an accident, whether from the front or from the side, ensuring the safety of the passenger or passengers inside the car,” he said.

He said Brunei should use the regulations as a criteria for allowing cars into the market as it takes into consideration the car’s structural integrity, quality of its seat belts and availability of airbags, with the focus on limiting injuries to passengers during head-on or side collisions.

Another method suggested by the secretary-general was to use the car ratings available from the ASEAN NCAP and allowing only a minimum of four-star rated cars into the country.

The ASEAN NCAP, which started in 2011, conducts crash tests on various models of cars, calculates the damage done to the passenger or passengers and gives each model a star rating that reflects how safe it is.

The secretary-general said ASEAN NCAP’s priority is to ensure that safer cars are made and that this becomes the responsibility of every nation, including Brunei. However, he said getting people to buy safer cars is a common issue they face, as cars with lots of safety features can be expensive.

“What we’re trying to do is not only to make safer cars but also to make safety affordable for safer mobility, ensuring that people will buy a car that will reduce the number of fatalities from road traffic accidents,” he said.

During the opening ceremony of the seminar, Minister of Communications Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar revealed that there were 22 road fatalities this year as of November 30, while in 2013, deaths from transport-related accidents were among the top 10 major causes of death in Brunei.

He added, however, that the Land Transport Master Plan had already set a target by 2020 of reducing the number of Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) in Brunei by 50 per cent, Child KSIs by 60 per cent and slight casualties by 25 per cent.

Under the plan, by 2025, the number of KSIs should be reduced by 60 per cent, the number of Child KSIs by 70 per cent and the number of slight casualties by 35 per cent.

The Centre for Transport Research (CfTR) under Institut Teknologi Brunei has also worked closely with the Brunei National Road Safety Council to set a national target of a 35 per cent reduction in the fatality rate by 2020.

The CfTR also signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Communications on the establishment of a working relationship and basis of cooperation and collaboration in road safety and other transportation sectors during the opening ceremony.

The Brunei Times