400 Indonesians hurt or die daily from road accidents: How to be safe on the road
Each year, 1.25 million people die in road traffic accidents, and it costs the global economy more than $500 billion. In the next 20 years, the figures are estimated to increase by 65% unless road safety is improved.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death amongst young people. This morning 1.8 billion children left their homes to go to school, but 500 lost their life in a traffic accident and never made it to school today.
26,802 Indonesians die in accidents yearly. More than 125,000 are injured, but the actual number of road accident incidents might be higher due to unreported cases. Traffic accidents cost 3.1% loss in Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Around 90% of road accidents happen in low- or middle-income countries like Indonesia.
The United Nations has declared 2011 – 2020 as Decade of Action for Road Safety. President Jokowi has put in place serious policies to improve road safety since he was the Governor of Jakarta.
Road traffic incidents have already decreased in Indonesia since 2009 as a result of national strategies which aim to reduce fatalities by 50% in 2020. Road traffic accidents are a huge problem, but solutions are simple and the business community can play an important role: Better roads, safer vehicles, more helmets and seatbelts and better information campaigns.
Here are ways traffic accidents can be reduced:
1. Good roads reduce accidents
Crash prevention measures within the transportation infrastructure have been promoted. These include formal pre-construction audits for new road projects and regular inspections of existing road infrastructure. Private investments are needed for roads and public transportation.
2. Private investments
Indonesia needs private funding for 70% of its infrastructure needs. Around IDR 500 trillion could be invested by the private sector solely to expressways, which requires multi-year performance-based contracts and effective financing models. Public-private partnerships and risk-sharing schemes make infrastructure projects more likely to be delivered on time and on budget, but also with better quality, thus reducing the potency of traffic accidents.
3. Safe vehicles
Safer vehicles result in less fatalities. Indonesia has more than 100 million registered vehicles in 2013. Almost 90% of it are motorized 2- and 3-wheelers while the rest are cars, heavy trucks and buses. Safer vehicles may mean improved vehicle standards in terms of frontal impact, electronic stability control, and pedestrian protection. Government safety regulations and consumer demand for safer cars incentivizes car makers and engineers to make safer vehicles.
4. Helmets, seatbelts
Riders with helmets and drivers wearing seatbelts are less likely to be killed or injured in an accident. Two in every three traffic incidents involve minor injuries to motorbike riders. Protective actions such as motorcycle helmet law for both drivers and passengers has been implemented. Despite that, 20% of drivers and 50% passengers do not abide to this law. For cars, seat-belt law has only applied to front seat occupants and not for the rear.
5. Follow traffic laws
Laws must be enforced to reduce traffic accidents. The role of traffic police is important to make sure drivers wear seat belts and helmets, follow new and improved traffic signs and do not violate traffic rules.
6. Information campaigns
Information campaigns saves lives. The Indonesian police have implemented “Police Goes to Campus” program which makes youth and students as agents of change for road safety. The challenge to improve these programs lies on how to disseminate it to other provinces.
Additional programs by the Indonesian National Police have been executed to lower the risk of road traffic incidents, such as traffic exhibitions and awareness building for motor taxi drivers. Special attention needs to be given to discourage mobile phone use while driving, as many Indonesians especially young people are digital natives.
Corporate social responsibility can play an important role. Shell Indonesia have launched the “Road Safety: Think Safety, Act Safely” program is part of targeting elementary school children to increase awareness of the importance of road safety and security in the streets. The company also developed a web-based safety Pop-Game to specifically educate elementary school students about traffic signs.
Indonesian national and regional medias are supporting The Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) and actress Ms. Michelle Yeoh as its spokesperson, in conducting a global campaign called “A Safe Road to School”.
Do your part
As we celebrate the Road Safety Week, we must further the positive progresses Indonesia has been achieving in improving road safety and make sure all efforts are appreciated. Although not all accidents are avoidable, every person has a role in ensuring the safety of others.
The United Nations is fully supportive in support of the Government of Indonesia, private sector and civil society in working towards halving the number of traffic fatalities by 2020.
The bad news is that more than 400 Indonesians will be killed or injured in the traffic today. The good news is that we already have all of the required solutions for safer mobility.
Let us work ogether for even better roads and safer vehicles. We can all do our part by putting on our helmets, fastening the seatbelts, abiding by the traffic rules and telling our friends and family to put down the phone while driving. – Rappler.com
Douglas Broderick is the UN Secretary General‘s designated representative in Indonesia and leads the UN Country Team of resident and non-resident agencies. He has submitted his credentials to the Government of Indonesia through Minister of Foreign Affairs. He had previously served as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Cambodia.