The young and the reckless –an Open Speech
Statistics compiled by the Royal Malaysian Police revealed that the highest rate of deaths and accidents are among those aged 16 and 25 followed closely by those between 26 and 35. Together, they made up for 58.5% of deaths on the roads. The statistics covered a period of three years from 2004 to 2006.
The majority of road accidents involved young adult motorcyclists. Motorcycles are considered to be the most dangerous form of transport. It is often described as an unprotected mode of transport. Young motorcyclists are therefore the most vulnerable on the roads.
Furthermore, it is also regarded as a relatively quicker and cheaper way of getting around. It takes an average of 30 to 35 minutes to get from one point to another in the Klang Valley. In terms of cost, motorcyclists spend less than RM18.00 a week. Besides, there is no need to pay the toll, an added bonus, and savings.
Besides the factor of the motorcycle itself, there is the young blood factor to be considered. They speed. They beat red lights. They overtake and perform indiscriminate lane change. They perform stunts on the roads. They get thrills from being macho and daredevils
It is a common tendency for the young throughout the world to underestimate their roadcraft. They think their reflex actions are quicker and their driving skills are better than most.
Some younger people think they are invincible. They think nothing will happen to them. It can happen to others but not to them. Compared to older people, the young are reckless, impulsive, fearless, and immature.
Another interesting aspect to note is that although there is a tendency for young road users between 16 to 35 to show high-risk behavior, they also make up a high number of road users. Naturally, there is a higher representation of them in the overall statistics.
Another factor that is often ignored is the machine itself. The vehicles may not be roadworthy, being poorly maintained or of inferior quality. A further consideration is road and weather conditions, quite beyond the control of mere mortals.
The introduction of a new driving curriculum by the Road Transport Department to include defensive driving skills may help reduce accidents and bring about a breed of mature young drivers by year-end (2007).
Wikipedia defines defensive driving as a form of training for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond the mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving. It aims to reduce the risk of accidents by anticipating dangerous situations despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. Learners learn a variety of general rules as well as the practice of specific driving techniques. Defensive driving skills are available for both motorists and motorcyclists. It is hoped that defensive driving courses can help wipe out the fallacy that you are the king of the road, you rule the road once you are behind the wheel.
Overall, Malaysian road users do lack basic road courtesy. Changing the attitude and the mindset may go a long way towards reducing fatal road accidents.