BRUNEI-MUARA – Brunei is seeing a downward trend in the number of road fatalities over the past 10 years, according to the Centre for Transport Research (CfTR).

This was revealed by the centre’s director, Dr Tan Soon Jian, during an MoU signing between Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Insurans Islam Taib General Takaful Sdn Bhd on Wednesday.

Based on the centre’s research, Brunei recorded around 7.5 annual fatalities per 100,000 people between 2011 and 2016, averaging out to 31 deaths per year due to road accidents.

This is compared to 9.6 annual fatalities per 100,000 between 2006 to 2010, equivalent to 36 deaths per year.

Dr Tan Soon Jiann, director of Centre of Transport Research (CfTR) delivering his speech during the MoU signing between UTB and Insurans Islam Taib on Oct 24, 2018. Photo: Wardi Wasil/The Scoop

“We made a comparative analysis with other countries and if we look at our performance in a five year period, we are performing better than our neighboring country Malaysia and even the US,” he told The Scoop.

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2013 showed that Malaysia was among the top three deadliest countries for road accidents with an annual rate of about 23 deaths per 100,000.

“However, our performance is worse when compared to developed nations such as the UK, Australia and Singapore which suggests that there are still some gaps in our current state of road safety,” said Dr Tan.

According to the same report, Australia, UK and Singapore recorded 5.4, 2.9 and 3.6 annual road fatalities per 100,000 respectively.

When asked what factors contributed to Brunei’s downward trend, the centre’s director said further research would need to be done because the sample size of road fatalities is very small in Brunei due to the size of the population.

“When we look at the road fatality trend in the country, in the short term it always fluctuates [from year to year], however if you look at it in the long term, from 1991 until today, there is actually a clear downward trend.”

Last year, Brunei saw a 71 per cent increase in the number of road fatalities with 29 deaths reported in 2017 compared to the 16 deaths in 2016. However, the number of road fatalities recorded in 2016 was a 56 percent drop from the previous year.

While the CfTR has identified five major road accident hotspots in the country, Dr Tan noted that “there is no consistent trend, as a lot of them are random occurrences”.

Signing the MoU on behalf of UTB was Vice Chancellor Dr Hjh Zohrah (L) and on behalf of Insurans Islam Taib was Managing Director Hj Osman (R) pictured with guest of honor, (C) Minister of Communications Dato Abdul Mutalib. Photo: Wardi Wasil/The Scoop

Speaking on the MoU signing, he said the collaboration between the two parties “covers a broad area” that will mainly focus on supporting road safety research in the country.

The collaboration would also involve capacity building, that would include staging crash investigation workshops that will be facilitated by experts from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety.

“With the resources and expertise from Insurans Islam Taib, we hope to be able to better understand the contributory and causal factors of road accidents, and by doing this we hope that we would be able to tackle some of the road safety issues in Brunei”.