Road accidents are the major cause of deaths in Malaysia. The causes of road accidents are not only due to the negligence of individuals while driving or failure to maintain the mechanical performance of the vehicles but also the physical condition of the roadway.

If the road is improperly maintained, it may be difficult to maintain traction and to stop in time from an accident. Road potholes, cracks, silt, uneven roads, manhole covers embedded or above street level, are all factors that cause accidents to happen, especially to motorcyclists. Road damage can also cause shock absorbers and tires to be easily damaged.

Digging up the road for the installation of utilities such as water pipes and underground cables has caused up to 70% damage of roads. The low quality of road paving as well as unprofessional maintenance can also cause damage to the roads occurs repeatedly in the same area. Road damage that occurrs in Malaysia also stems from the attitude of contractors who do not comply with the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) established by the Malaysian Works Department (JKR).

Most contractors do not meet the conditions laid down JKR because they want to reduce operating costs. According to the SOP issued by the JKR, the contractor should be in charge of the temporary cover or compress the original excavation pit immediately.

Furthermore, the excavation should be covered with sand up to the level of the road surface. However, some contractors just bury without compressing the excavation. If during the period of mending there is damage to the road and thus pose a danger to road users, the contractors are responsible for any accidents on road users. Most road accidents are caused by roads damage which is not restored by the authorities.

According to SOP the work of open cutting across the street should be revamped again as existing within 24 hours after dredging. Excavated material must be removed from the work area immediately after excavation. Pile of excavated material at the roadside can pose a danger to road users especially motorcyclists.

In conclusion, if the authorities take all the precautions that have been fixed by JKR then the quality of the roads should improveand the number of casualties can be reduced. Most importantly, the contractors must change their “tidak mengapa” attitude and be considerate on the safety of other road users.

Furthermore, to ensure that the contractor complies with all conditions specified in SOP then the JKR should always monitor on the work carried out by the entrusted contractors by doing site visits regularly. Malaysia is a developing country and moving forward to achieve a developed country status. Hence the road maintenance issue should be handledurgently and seriously by the contractors and the government.

Nur Imani Abdullah