EARLIER this week, a number of Malaysian highways got a favourable rating for safety.

It was reported that more than 95 per cent assessed stretches of four inter-urban expressway networks were awarded 3-star ratings or higher for safety.

The ratings, given under the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) assessed four inter-urban expressway networks, namely Kuala Lumpur-Bukit Kayu Hitam; Kuala Lumpur-Johor Baru; Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan and Kuantan-Terengganu.

“This is a positive result after road infrastructure safety improvements were put in place to boost the safety level along the 2,370.2km assessed stretches,” said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The (iRAP) is an organisation dedicated to improving road safety. Its ratings are used to assess road user risk and improve the safety of road infrastructure in countries.

As of April this year, 65 locations along the assessed network of roads had undergone road improvement works.

Liow said it took about six months to do the repair works needed to boost road safety levels.

The ratings underline that Malaysian highways are relatively safe.

However, despite this, our country has a high road fatality rate, perhaps due to the fact that most accidents occur in trunk routes instead of highways.

According to Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, there were 521,466 accidents last year, and 7,152 deaths, an increase of 446 deaths compared with the year before.

Our highways are relatively safe, but are our trunk routes and other roads safe as well?

Liberalisation of insurance

Will owners of old vehicles face higher insurance premiums following liberalisation of insurance tarrifs?

This may be a distinct possibility.

The Malaysian Insurance Institute said liberalisation of motor insurance will make the public more accountable for their vehicles.

Its chief executive officer, Datuk Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman, was quoted by the Bernama news agency as saying that the premiums for “good drivers and vehicle owners” would be lower with the liberalisation of motor insurance.

“Efforts by the vehicle owners to install safety features into their cars will be an added advantage to help lower their insurance premiums.

“It will encourage the manufacturers to install safety features in the cars as the premiums would decrease,” he said.

However, older vehicles will no doubt lack these safety features, which have yet to be specified. Its unclear whether these devices can even be installed in the vehicles.

Will this result in higher premiums for insurance for them? Its uncertain right now.

Syed Moheed said despite the announcement of liberalisation by Bank Negara Malaysia, the policy would only take full effect by 2019.

“Nonetheless, the changes will not leave an impact on third-party insurance holders as most of them are from the lower-income group and their vehicles are older. Thus, we do not want to burden them.”

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