Our drink-driving death rate among lowest, WHO data shows

The government has recently tabled tougher penalties on drink driving.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has one of the lowest rates of road deaths caused by alcohol consumption, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

A global road safety report from December 2018 shows that less than 1% of traffic related deaths in Malaysia are linked to alcohol, far below the rate among some regional neighbours.

In Myanmar, 21% of road deaths are alcohol related, the worst in Southeast Asia, followed by Thailand at 14%, Cambodia at 13% and Singapore at 6%.

Malaysia has recently taken action for tougher penalties for alcohol-related road deaths.

Two months ago, federal traffic police director Azisman Alias said in an RTM interview that nine people had died in crashes caused by alcohol impairment in the last year.

He expressed concern over a rise in incidents involving drunk drivers beginning early this year, including the MCO period.

Police statistics in 2018 showed that there were 191 drivers and motorcyclists found to be driving and riding under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in 54 deaths.

The highest rate recorded in the latest WHO report was for South Africa, where nearly six out of every 10 road fatalities there involved alcohol. WHO estimates that there are 25.9 deaths per 100,000 people in South Africa.

The rate for the USA was 29% of 35,092 total road deaths five years ago.

The WHO puts around 1.35 million people globally perished on the roads every year or around 3,500 lives lost daily.

The United Nations agency estimates there will be 2 million deaths by 2030 if it is business as usual in the efforts to reduce road crashes by the UN member countries and it can cost many countries up to 3% of their domestic gross revenue.