Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sampai Bila?

Taken from NST
Until we run out of people to die on our roads, I guess.

Twenty seven lives were lost in Cameron, twelve in Simpang Ampat, twenty one in Bukit Gantang; I have lost track of other accidents, and I am sure it is a long list.

Supposedly R66 UNECE specifications on our busses are now enforced and yet none of our express busses and tour busses have complied with these specs. Always the excuse is that it would be too expensive for the bus companies to comply with, and therefore it would be better that lives are lost, as long as these companies can make tons of profits.

I guess rules and regulations are meant as a showcase to show how progressive we are, and to show that our MPs are doing their job in parliament.

I have taken the (long distance) busses since secondary school, I guess. It would be the SKMK buses to return home from Kota Bharu in the 70s, and in the 80s, I would take the bus to go back to KL and back (to Taiping. I remember a time when I went to KL for an interview with Nestle (in 1986). Upon reaching Pudu at 4 am from Taiping, I had to sleep on the bench at Puduraya, since the mini-busses to Ampang would only start operating at 6 am, and I didn't have the money to pay for a cab ride.

I remember too the days in late 80s when a group of us would take the overnight bus from Dungun to KL. Obviously we would reach KL early on a Friday morning, find a mosque to refresh ourselves, and we would be the first clienst at Bank Buruh in Jalan Raja Laut those Friday mornings. Or being at the PNB building on the very first working day of 1990 for the conversion of ASN to ASB then.

We were then so much into shares trading. And we had to go to KL from this little town of Kerteh/Dungun to do our transactions.

Obviously, we would take the Friday evening bus trip back to Dungun after completing our share and loan application in KL.

This, we would do quite frequently in the late 80s and very early 90s. Aah, those day. We would not be hesitant to do it then.

Then, even without the East Coast Hiway, we weren't worried about the bus crashes. There were quite a bit of the lorry or truck carrying logs in Pahang, and there was always the risk during the overtaking on a single lane country road. However, Alhamdulillah, we always felt safe then. 

I think for some reasons, we had always been warned about "kete potong." But no one warns us about 'bas potong!" Just imagine by not complying with R66 specs, it is actually a bas potong. Unlike kete potong which are typically done by unscrupulous people, bas potong are done with the knowledge of the authority!

Which goes back to my concern in an earlier entry on how safe are our cars on the road, notably the Protons and the Peroduas. I am considering seriously replacing my two unsafe cars.

First and foremost, the two cars did not have any airbags, or ABS or anything resembling typical safety features for modern car. Let's not even talk about EBA or traction control, or stability control, and other safety features. I am sure at least one of them would not meet the safety requirement of Euro NCAP and it would not have any star rating of NCAP.

The other one, based on a 1999 test, supposedly has a two-star rating. Then again I would not know if mine is the exact model of the test car done by NCAP.

Cars using the post 2009 NCAP rating would typically have a five-star rating. Civic and Accord five-star rating, Mazda 3 and Mazda 6, all five stars; Prius five stars; Ford Focus five star etc etc. Even smaller cars like Mazda 2 and Ford Fiesta have a five star rating.

So do you think that Proton and Perodua cars (or Naza's for that matter) would be up to the mark? How many stars safety rating do you think our Persona, Saga and Exora (and Perodua MyVis, Alza and Viva) would get in the event they are tested in a similar crash test? Do you think Proton and Perodua would dare letting their cars go through such test, and publish the results for Malaysians to see?

The only Proton car which was tested would be Waja (or Impian in UK) - though I have seen Exora being tested, and I guess got bashed by Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear hosts. Waja for the record got a three-star rating, but it has been said that the integrity of the compartment the drivers are in have been compromised. The cabin that is supposed to protect us drivers has been bent and deformed, and the brake pad has been shoved in towards the driver, risking a knee or leg injury.

Thus videos have been circulating in Youtube for a long time, I know that, but for completeness sake, I should post them here. This test was done at 64 kmph (40 mph) over deformable concrete barrier, and I am sure most of us would not drive at such (a slow) speed!

I don't know about you, but it was said by the TG hosts that they would not let their daughters drive in a Proton Impian (Waja). Luckily for me, I don't have a daughter!! Haha. Unluckily for me, it is still applicable for sons, and I am having second thought about it the past months too, not just in a Waja, but in all Proton and Perodua's cars.

Mitsubishi Lancer has a five star NCAP rating based on a 2009 test; so do you think Proton Inspira would be up to the mark too? Or have they compromised the body structure to make more money for the company?

I think it is about time that we Malaysians wake up and end this horror story. We have been shortchanged all these whiles, and many of us are paying it with our lives. Just imagine how many Sagas, MyVis, Personas, Wiras, and Kancils and Vivas are on our roads, and how many are driven by you and I, your siblings, sons, daughters, relatives etc etc.

We should no longer use substandard cars that compromise our safety. We have to pay a moon and a sun for the cars using our sweat and tears, and we certainly do not wish that in the end we have to pay them with our bloods.

Fauzi Marzuki, Bob and Ekamatra are right after all.

Enjoy. Err...then again, may be not!

EPILOGUE (updated 23 December 2010)

Taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( First appeared in Yahoo Thursday 23 December. Hello Proton, hello Perodua, Hello Naza, hello JPJ, Hello MIROS, hello ministry, hello SPRM. Hello Malaysian bus makers.

66 winners of 2011 TOP SAFETY PICK award;
automakers quickly improve roofs to boost rollover protection
ARLINGTON, VA — Sixty-six vehicles earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK award for 2011, including 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a minivan. TOP SAFETY PICKrecognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk. The ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require.
Last year the Institute toughened criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK by adding a requirement that all qualifiers must earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. The move sharply narrowed the initial field of 2010 winners. At the beginning of the 2010 model year, only 27 vehicles qualified for the award, but the number grew to 58 as auto manufacturers reworked existing designs and introduced new models. Now another 10 vehicles join the winners' list for 2011. Two discontinued models drop off.

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