The webinar on Road Traffic Injury Prevention

Road traffic injuries are a major public health problem in Malaysia. They remain a leading cause of death, disability and admissions to hospitals. The economic loss due to road traffic crashes amounts to about 1-2% of a country’s GDP, according to data from international health agencies. Malaysia has one of the highest rates of road traffic deaths per 100,000 population according to the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety. The health sector has a crucial role to play in the prevention of road traffic injuries, in addition to its established role in the management of injuries. The health sector can contribute through advocacy, data collection, public education and research. In recent years, multiple diligent measures taken by the government are insufficient to curb the increasing rate of road crashes and their consequences. A hybrid seminar on Road Traffic Injury Prevention was organised jointly by the MMA Injury Prevention Committee and the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya on 11 May 2023 to strengthen the contribution of the health sector to road safety.

The seminar consisted of six talks followed by forum sessions hosted by Prof Dr Krishnan Rajah and Prof Dr Victor Hoe. The talks are “Policy issues in Road Safety” given by Prof Dr Krishnan Rajah the Chairman of the MMA Injury Prevention Committee and Former Technical Officer, Injury & Violence Prevention, World Health Organization (WHO), “Magnitude of Road Traffic Injuries in Malaysia” by IR TS Sharifah Allyana, Research Officer from Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), “Advocating for Road Safety in Children” by Dato Dr Amar-Singh HSS, Consultant Paediatrician and Advisor to the National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECC), “Commuting Crashes” by Mr Harun Bakar, Head of Prevention Department, Social Security Organization who replaces Dr Azlan Darus, “Trauma Management in Primary Care Setting” by Dr Ahmad Asraff Azman, Emergency Physician at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, and “Fitness to Drive for Commercial Fleets” by Prof Dr Victor Hoe, Head of Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and Professor of Occupational and Public Health.

There were more than 100 participants who attended the seminar, and most of them attended virtually through Zoom. The participants consisted of general practitioners, medical specialists, and postgraduate medical students.

Summary of the Webinar

The webinar addresses the magnitude of road traffic injuries in Malaysia, policy issues, prevention strategies, trauma management, fitness to drive, and commuting crashes. It features multiple speakers, including experts from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), medical professionals, and other stakeholders.

Key Points

Magnitude of the Problem

  • Statistics: Malaysia has a high number of road traffic fatalities, with around 6,000 deaths annually. Motorcyclists are the most affected group, constituting about 60% of the fatalities.
  • Financial Impact: The economic loss due to road traffic crashes is significant, amounting to approximately 21 billion MYR annually.

Policy Issues

  • Road Safety Plans: Malaysia has developed several road safety plans over the years, with the latest one covering 2022-2030. The plan aims for a 50% reduction in road traffic fatalities by 2030.
  • Institutional Arrangements: The Road Safety Department has been integrated into the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to streamline efforts. However, there is a need for better coordination and data sharing between different agencies.

Prevention Strategies

  • Engineering and Infrastructure: Recommendations include narrowing streets, installing speed bumps, and creating pedestrian walkways and overpasses to improve safety.
  • Education and Enforcement: While education alone is not very effective, combining it with strict enforcement can lead to better outcomes. Campaigns and public awareness initiatives are crucial.
  • Motorcycle Safety: There is a strong recommendation to ban motorcycles due to their high risk. If not feasible, improving helmet usage and creating separate lanes for motorcycles are suggested.

Trauma Management

  • Primary and Secondary Surveys: Emphasis on systematic assessment to identify and treat life-threatening injuries. The primary survey focuses on airway, breathing, circulation, disability, and exposure (ABCDE).
  • Special Populations: Special considerations are needed for children, pregnant women, and the elderly due to their unique physiological responses to trauma.

Fitness to Drive

  • Medical Assessments: Regular medical examinations for commercial vehicle drivers are essential to ensure they are fit to drive. This includes assessing vision, hearing, and other health parameters.
  • Regulations: There are specific guidelines from JPJ for assessing the fitness of drivers, which need to be strictly followed.

Commuting Crashes

  • Statistics and Trends: Commuting crashes are a significant concern, with a high number of fatalities among motorcyclists. Most accidents occur during peak hours and in urban areas.
  • Prevention Programs: Initiatives like the Vision Zero program aim to reduce commuting accidents through better workplace safety practices and road safety education.

Advocacy and Collaboration

  • Role of Parents and Communities: Parents and local communities play a crucial role in advocating for safer road environments, especially around schools.
  • Collaboration with Health Sector: There is a need for better collaboration between road safety agencies and the health sector to improve data collection and post-crash care.


The webinar highlights the urgent need for a multi-faceted approach to road traffic injury prevention in Malaysia. This includes better infrastructure, stricter enforcement of traffic laws, comprehensive education campaigns, and improved medical and post-crash care. Collaboration between various stakeholders, including government agencies, the health sector, and the public, is essential to achieve the goal of reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries.

Article written by Victor Hoe

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