Drunk driving is a touchy topic in Malaysia. People are easily divided regarding news about road accidents due to the influence of alcohol. But is it the major cause of accidents in Malaysia as people often claim it to be?
Let’s quickly look at official numbers to decide whether it’s a fact or a myth.
Cases of road accidents in Malaysia
Last year, Free Malaysia Today reported, based on a Royal Malaysia Police’s (PDRM) statistical report, that only 69 cases of drunk driving led to deadly accidents over ten years. According to PDRM’s numbers, drunk driving was one of the lowest causes of death compared to other fatal collisions from 2011 to 2021.
The report states that single-vehicle accidents were the highest, contributing to a total of 19,570 deaths, followed by negligent driving while exiting or entering a junction at 6,590, overtaking at 6,560, collisions due to not seeing a head-on obstacle at 6,336, U-turns at 2,570, driving against traffic flow at 1,731, beating traffic lights at 1,398 and falling asleep while driving at 1,305. Within the same period, some 1,990 fatal cases were also caused by the negligence of pedestrians.
These statistics suggest that drunk driving isn’t the major cause of accidents on Malaysian roads because alcohol consumption among Malaysians, especially those that drive, only makes up a small fraction of the entire population.
Deaths from drunk driving accidents in Malaysia
As for deaths, another report by MalayMail, featuring statistics from the Transport Ministry, showed that deaths involving drunk driving accidents in Malaysia have an irregular pattern from 2010 to 2018.
- 2010: 49 cases
- 2011: 33 cases
- 2012: 136 cases
- 2013: 207 cases
- 2014: 193 cases
- 2015: 229 cases
- 2016: 237 cases
- 2017: 58 cases
- 2018: 54 cases
Compared to the number of deaths from other cases mentioned earlier, such as single-vehicle accidents, negligent driving and overtaking, deaths from drunk driving still appear noticeably smaller. While it is true that drunk driving is one of the causes of road accidents, statistical data does not provide solid grounds to say that it’s the major cause of road accidents in Malaysia.
As PDRM stated in its report last year, the offence remains one of the lowest contributors to road accidents in Malaysia. It occupies the last place of the 17 causes of road accidents. This shows that drunk driving, as the major cause of road accidents in Malaysia, is nothing more than just a myth because many other factors are topping that list.
Drunk driving in Malaysia
Like in many countries, drunk driving in Malaysia is an offence according to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act under section 45A. But making sweeping statements about it to shift away all the attention from other causes of road accidents should not be encouraged.
As responsible citizens, we should stick to official data and facts before passing judgments about any issue. Cause what may seem like the truth may not be it after all.
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