Commitment to road safety must continue

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam has seen a drop in the number of road accidents from 3,598 cases in 2011 to 1,196 in 2019, while fatality cases down from 47 cases to 13, said Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that the encouraging trend ought to continue into the future.

Her Royal Highness, in her capacity as the Royal Patron of the National Road Safety Council (MKKJR), said this in a sabda through a recorded video message aired at the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) ceremony – at the Amar Pahlawan Hall of the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) yesterday.

Her Royal Highness warned against complacency due to the achievement and called for awareness on road safety and instil the culture of vigilance on the road.

Her Royal Highness added, “The community needs to cooperate with the authorities, especially traffic police, by adhering to the road traffic regulations and being disciplined and safe.

“We are all here to remember those who died and were injured in road traffic accidents by giving support and expressing sympathy to the family members and also make the community aware of the importance of road safety.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in her capacity as Royal Patron of the National Road Safety Council speaks in a recorded video message aired at the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) ceremony. PHOTO: JAMES KON

Her Royal Highness referenced the ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018’ issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) when noting that “the annual number of victims from road accident fatalities has reached 1.35 million people. Road injuries are the main cause of death among those aged five to 29. Such a burden is being borne disproportionately by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, especially in developing countries. A more comprehensive traffic enforcement is needed to meet the global targets to save lives”.

Her Royal Highness added, “Many initiatives have already been implemented by member countries of the United Nations (UN). The UN recently launched the ‘Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030’. This is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 which outlines targets to reduce half of the fatality and injury rate and to provide access to a safe public transport system by 2030.”

Her Royal Highness advised that before beginning a journey, road users must pray and have faith in Allah the Almighty as an accident is not something that is planned.

“Whatever the cause, the word ‘accident’ carries a negative connotation but it also prepares us for it. Insya Allah, accidents can be prevented,” Her Royal Highness said.

Her Royal Highness said this year marked the end of Brunei Darussalam’s Blueprint Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

“I understand that it will be replaced with a new document which is the ‘Brunei Darussalam Road Safety Strategic Plan 2025’, to strengthen the continued commitment in addressing the issue of road safety,” Her Royal Highness said.

Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness congratulated MKKJR for its continued efforts in ensuring road safety.

The strategy, Her Royal Highness said, “has its own action plan which contains comprehensive programmes for the next five years. It will also continue to be aligned with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 to jointly achieve the goal of road safety in a proper collective spirit.

“With the strategic plan, the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, through the MKKJR in cooperation with action groups formed with members from various government agencies and the private sector will be able to mobilise resources and implement initiatives that are more focussed and persistent, thus providing solid support towards achieving vision of zero road accidents.”

Her Royal Highness believes the Whole-of-Nation approach is “a wise step in bringing road safety issues closer to the community”.

In line with the digital technology era, Her Royal Highness sees the establishment of the MKKJR website since 2019 as timely.

Her Royal Highness said, “Apart from the various physical initiatives planned towards road safety, the coordination and the dissemination in addressing educational, legal and technical aspects through social media are very effective resources, especially in today’s world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Her Royal Highness also extended her gratitude to the MKKJR, other agencies and the community for the efforts in reducing road accidents in the country, adding that “it is our responsibility to ensure our roads are safe”.