Fatal crash of minister's aide was at 'death stretch'

Fatal crash of minister's aide was at 'death stretch'
KUALA LUMPUR: The death of the Human Resources Minister’s press secretary B. Sivam and his driver in an accident at KM232 of the PLUS Highway was not the first.

According to Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) director-general Prof Wong Shaw Voon, the 10 kilometres stretch (between KM230 and KM240) is an accident prone area.

Wong said the area has seen seven fatal crashes due to speeding in the period of four years between 2008 and 2011.

He said this number does not include the number of crashes involving injuries and also accidents, which were not caused by speeding, such as drunk driving or mechanical failure.
“Though it’s not the worst, the number is considered high as we are only talking about speed related crashes. I would consider it an area that needs treatment or attention,” he said, adding that MIROS would check if an audit has been done on the stretch.

Even from KM220 onwards Wong said the data showed there was already a speeding problem.
“People tend to drive fast in that area, we have to study why  but the public can play a role by not going over the speed limit,” he said.
Among the reasons some people were speeding include straight stretch or wide road or even the type of vehicle.

“A lot of people don’t see speeding as something serious. People think it’s okay to speed a little bit, but we should remember that even an additional 5km/h doubles the risk of you being killed on the road” he said.

“One irony is that sometimes the better the road condition, the more people tend to speed,” he said.
Asked if there was an Automated Enforcement System (AES) speed camera in the area, he said there is one proposed at KM226.

Commenting on cases,  where accident victims are thrown out of their vehicles, he said that it was often due to seat belts. “Wearing safety belts reduces fatalities by 50 per cent.”

Wong stressed that his advice was not based on any conclusions on the crash involving the minister’s aide as investigations were still ongoing.

On Wednesday morning, Sivam, 35, died after the vehicle he was in, a Nissan X-trail belonging to the ministry, crashed into two other vehicles: a Myvi and a six-tonne-lorry.

His driver, Hazrin Hassan, also 35, passed away later at the Malacca hospital. They were heading towards Alor Gajah from Kuala Lumpur.

According to Rembau district police chief DSP Mizan Md Dom, all three vehicles were southbound.

The lorry, carrying plastic water tanks, was on the extreme left lane,  when the two other vehicles somehow brushed against each other, Mizan said.

“The X-Trail then lost control and crashed into the lorry, the two men were flung out of their vehicles,” he said.

However, four others-- two in the Myvi and two in the lorry- were unhurt.

Mizan said that police were still investigating the cause of the accident but the deaths were likely caused by  concussions suffered by the two men.

“We are awaiting reports from Puspakom and the post-mortem from the hospital,” he said.

The MIROS observation seems to contradict with the police in the area, who said there were “two or three cases” of accident last year but were not fatal accidents.

“The accident today was normal and is not due to the conditions of the road,” said Mizan.

In 2010, an express bus was involved in a crash which killed 12 people on KM223 of the North-South Expressway.