Road accidents are a global problem that needs the approach of relevant parties to manage and reduce its effects. According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, issued by the World Health Organisation, W-H-O, 88 countries have managed to reduce the number of deaths from road accidents. Despite various efforts, around 1.24 million lives are estimated to have been lost to road accidents every year.
This shows that efforts need to be stepped up to reduce road accidents. The W-H-O also estimates that by the year 2020, deaths from road accidents will be the third cause of death after heart disease and depression. The Minister of Communication was speaking at the launch of the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, WTISD at the Rizqun International Hotel, in the morning.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah in his welcoming remarks reiterated the importance of the awareness as ICT and road users to take wise consideration and make smart decisions. This includes prioritising safety for oneself and be considerate of other road users. Such would include making the decision to use mobile phones after parking their cars at the side of the road and to avoid using SMS or Whatsapp while driving. Yang Berhormat Pehin added that with the implementation of the Demerit Point System, the numbers of accidents for the past year have dropped compared to the year before. The number of deaths has also significantly reduced from 47 in 2011 to 28 in 2012. Yang Berhormat Pehin also stressed that the enforcement of CCTV and other technologies will make the implementation of the system more effective in reducing road traffic accidents further. The ICT based initiative is hoped to instil positive attitude among road users, to be more responsible and disciplined. Yang Berhormat Pehin explained that the main objective of the system is not to penalise, but to educate road users.
Yang Berhormat Pehin later launched road safety videos and two mascot’s names Awang Safe and Dayang Salmi. The theme of this year’s WTISD, “ICT and Improving Road Safety”, is hoped to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of Internet and Communication Technologies can bring to societies and economies.
The celebration was highlighted with a discussion by local and international speakers on topics related to the theme, and sharing of information with to the public on the latest ICT development and its contribution towards improving road safety.
Yang Berhormat Pehin also launched a DST Safety Driving Mobile App called “Safe Safar” to support road safety and reduce accident rates. Safar, in the Arabic Language means “journey”. The Safe Safar app curbs the urge to call or text while driving by allowing the driver to temporarily limit the features of their mobile device to stay focus on the road.
Also held was a current and future ICT Technology Exhibition. The exhibition was participated by the Brunei Darussalam Road Safety Council members, ICT Companies, car dealers and telecommunication service providers.