KUALA LUMPUR: A road safety institute is pushing for the manufacture of cars of higher standards to reduce crash fatalities.
Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Farhan Sadullah said this meant the installation of safety features, such as airbags.
"A proper car design is most important.
"Malaysian-made cars will only get world recognition if proper safety features are installed.
"But while airbags can safeguard passengers from impact or sharp objects during a crash, this is not enough to cut down fatalities."
Farhan said the only way to achieve higher-standard cars was through proper design and crash tests, both of which he said were still lacking in Malaysian-made cars compared with leading car manufacturers worldwide.
Globally, the crash test is done on cars made in Europe, Japan and the United States through the New Car Assessment Programme.
The safety ratings are gathered during controlled crash and rollover tests conducted at research facilities. Vehicles with a rating of five stars indicate the highest safety rating and one star the lowest.
Farhan said the assessment programme was market driven, to improve public perception on "safe" cars, adding that some countries did not recognise Malaysian cars because of the missing car assessment test.
"In Malaysia, there is no crash test. The car assessment is done without the crash. Ours is a non-destructive test.
"We have to start the crash test now.
"People around the world only look for cars with a five-star rating."
Farhan said besides the crash test, the anti-lock brakes, which stopped the car at the shortest distance under most conditions, were also essential.
Malaysia saw a drop in fatalities six years ago with about 6,200 deaths. However, the figures have steadily gone up to 6,700.
Farhan added that most accidents occur due to car or road conditions and the drivers' attitude.
"We have been finding ways to change the attitude of road users. This, of course, takes time because it involves human behaviour.
"But we can control the conditions of our roads and cars," he said, adding that continued enforcement and road safety and awareness programmes were still needed.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said only new saloon cars were to be fitted with airbags from next year.
In a statement, he said airbags were not fitted in four-wheel-drive vehicles, lorries and buses as their heights and weights were different.
He also said the directive did not apply to old and used or second-hand cars "because unlike safety belts, fitting an airbag must be done when cars are manufactured".
He added that airbags in such cars were not practical.
Read the full article:http://www.nst.com.my/articles/14bags/Article/