BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The National Road Safety Council launched a nationwide campaign on Saturday aimed at reducing the number of road fatalities in the country by 35 percent by 2020.

Brunei currently records around 7.5 road fatalities per 100,000 people, averaging out to 31 deaths per year — a starkly higher rate than countries like Singapore, Australia and the UK.

Launched in conjunction with World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the “Tell Everyone” campaign was modeled on a successful corporate campaign created by Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) for its employees back in 2008.

Patron of the road safety council, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, said the campaign specifically targets youths and members of the public through social media platforms, promotions and roadshows.

Statistics from 2017 show that 65 percent of road fatalities (19 out of 29) were youths aged between 19 and 38.

HRH lauded the council’s efforts to reach out to younger drivers, noting that Brunei registers nearly 7,000 new drivers every year, most of them young people.

The patron of the National Road Safety Council, HRH Princess Hajah Masna (2R), presents a certificate to BSP managing director Ceri Powell (L), in recognition of the company’s contribution to road safety. Photo: Infofoto

The new “Tell Everyone” campaign aims to raise awareness on basic road safety behaviours, from complying with speed limits and always wearing seat belts, to checking the condition of car tyres and avoiding mobile phone use while driving.

Research from Universiti Teknologi Brunei’s Centre for Transport Research in 2016 showed that only three percent of backseat passengers wore seat belts, despite data indicating that seat belts can reduce the risk of injury or fatality by 50 percent for front-seat passengers, and up to 75 percent for backseat passengers.

BSP said through its road safety campaign it was able to increase compliance of seat belt-wearing among its employees from 40 percent to 100 percent, by carrying out regular spot checks, educational campaigns and ensuring company leaders set an example.

Statistics show that Brunei has seen a downward trend in road fatalities over the past decade, but the Centre for Transport Research said more studies need to be carried out to determine causality.

So far in 2018, the Royal Brunei Police Force has recorded 1,035 road accidents with 16 fatalities.

In 2017, there were 2,643 road accidents recorded with 29 fatalities. In 2016, police reported 3,375 road accidents with 16 fatalities.