PETALING JAYA: The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has come under fire from the Road Safety Department for allowing the use of selected emergency lanes during the Hari Raya period.
Road safety director-general Datuk Suret Singh stressed that the use of emergency lanes should only be under “very special circumstances”.
“These lanes should only be opened when absolutely necessary to ease congestion,” he told The Star.
He urged the JPJ to look for long-term solutions such as introducing proper lanes to be used during traffic congestion, and not allow the use of emergency lanes.
Suret said “opening up” emergency lanes during periods of high traffic movement needed a massive number of personnel to prevent traffic mishaps.
However, he said the use of selected emergency lanes during the Hari Raya period was compliant with prescribed safety precautions, adding that he had personally checked the Nilai-Seremban stretch on the eve of the festival.
“Strict safety rules were adhered to. The police and PLUS Ronda (the highway concessionaire’s safety patrol team) did a decent job,” he said.
The JPJ had allowed PLUS Sdn Bhd to open up emergency lanes on selected stretches of the North-South Expressway to ease traffic flow in conjunction with the Hari Raya holidays despite objections from groups such as the Road Safety Marshall Club.
Road Safety Marshall Club president K. Balasupramaniam slammed JPJ director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan for not discussing the idea on the use of emergency lanes first.
“Instead of consulting concessionaires such as PLUS, they should be talking with road users, NGOs and safety experts,” he added.
He suggested that the JPJ develop proper safety measures and strategies at least six months ahead of any major festival.
Balasupramaniam also said that highway concessionaires should not offer toll discounts for night travel during rush periods.
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