Better Not to Talk and Drive


8 Dec 2007


PUTRAJAYA: All drivers should refrain from using handphones even if they have hands-free devices in their vehicles.  "Studies have shown that drivers cannot fully concentrate on the road while talking on the handphones using hands-free devices," Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh told a press conference here yesterday.  He said that at least two private companies in the country - Malaysian Oxygen Bhd and Lafarge Malayan Cement - had barred their drivers from using handphones while driving.  "This type of commendable self-regulatory measure should be adopted by all other private transport companies in the country," he said. 


Countries like Sweden and Australia have totally banned the use of handphones due to the risk to the driver and other road users.  Suret Singh said it would be better for road users to completely refrain from using handphones if they were driving or riding.  "I even see motorcyclists using handphones while riding," he said, adding that this dangerous behaviour must stop. 


Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research director-general Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said studies also found that, while driving, a person would not be able to multi-task and concentrate on the road, as in the case of using handphones while driving. 


On another matter, Suret Singh urged motorists and motorcyclists to be extra cautious on the road during this holiday season. 


He said traffic volume would increase tremendously during this year-end holiday season.  "We want those travelling far, especially motorcyclists, to travel by express buses, trains, and by air," as they were safer modes of travel, compared to driving.  He said those who chose to drive should plan their journey, follow the speed limits and road signs, use seatbelts, and be extremely careful when overtaking or switching lanes, by looking at the rear and side mirrors and using the indicators.  "Don't tailgate, jump queue and cut into narrow gaps between cars or vehicles," he said, adding that the police and Road Transport Department officers would continue with their routine operations during this holiday and festive season.