Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday expressed sadness over the increasing number of road fatalities this year.
With 18 fatalities recorded between January to October 2022, compared to 16 last year, Her Royal Highness said “more effort needs to be made”.
Her Royal Highness, who is also the Royal Patron of National Road Safety Council (MKKJR), addressed the worrying trend of road fatalities in a special sabda at the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2022 (WDR 2022) ceremony at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club in Jerudong. Her Royal Highness explained that statistics showed the number of active vehicles on the road increases by approximately 14,000 vehicles each year.
As of last year, the number of drivers also increased, with 5,576 obtaining new driving licences and 140,316 renewing driving licences, Her Royal Highness said, adding that it translates to one third of the Brunei population driving a motor vehicle.
In this regard, every road user – be it driving a car, riding a motorcycle/bicycle or a pedestrian – has a direct influence on road safety. Therefore, unified cooperation is needed to guarantee safety on the road.
Her Royal Highness reminded the public that 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 works hard to ensure that our roads remain safe for use, before expressing hopes that road users will cooperate and share the responsibility.
“The MKKJR also plays an important role, with one of the efforts being the launch of the Brunei Darussalam Road Safety Strategic Plan 2025 in 2020. I understand that various programmes have been implemented, but there is still loss of life. Therefore, MKKJR needs to ensure that the strategic plan is still relevant and in line with the current situation.
“It is very important that we inculcate awareness about road safety at an early stage, especially for children from primary school.
“For this purpose, MKKJR in collaboration with the Department of Schools, Ministry of Education has established the Road Safety Club for school students. Such initiative needs to be supported and continued, with the hopes of it reaping a good outcome,” Her Royal Highness said.
Her Royal Highness also acknowledged that the authorities have adopted the use of latest technological systems that provide in-depth analyses on accidents. The Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge Control Centre has also started using a system capable of producing information on the type, weight and speed of vehicles.
Additionally, several local companies have introduced systems such as driver distraction and fatigue detection as well as lane-change assist systems.
The use of the technology must be utilised, Her Royal Highness said, before adding, “Let’s all be determined and try to reduce accidents that are due to our own negligence, because road safety is our joint responsibility.”