Once again, we’re at the crossroads of reducing speed limits but the proposal forgets to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has suggested lowering the speed limit in urban environments as part of the larger road safety plan for 2021-2030.
Currently the limit is 35kph but the proposal wants to lower it to 30kph in urban areas with a dense mix of various mobility means. By right, these areas should comprise residential areas and city centres where cars, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians’ cross paths on a higher frequency.
However, the proposal fails to highlight all the specifics or prerequisites to determine areas that will fall under the proposed speed limit. For now, the issue appears to be a blanket speed limit that might cause more harm than good.
It’s common sense that a slower speed would allow drivers more time to scan their surroundings and be aware of potential hazards as well as having the additional time to react in an emergency situation.
According to a report by FMT, Miros will engage its stakeholders in bringing this proposal forward and they comprise parties such as the Road Transport Department, police, town councils, the Public Works Department and the transport ministry.
The speed limit is part of the big picture that’s to halve the number of road deaths by 2030 that was agreed at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety; more easily memorised as the Stockholm Declaration, which aims to halve road deaths by 2030.
While reducing speed limits does make sense on paper, Malaysia’s lack of results in combatting road fatalities has always fallen down to two primary areas; a lack of enforcement and an incomprehensive driver’s education curriculum.
Reducing speed limits now is akin to a band-aid solution. The long-term fix is to find a cure and that’s by revamping driver’s education to shape better drivers from the get-go.