The Malaysian automotive industry has recently been rocked by Honda’s global recall exercise, affecting models manufactured as early as 2003.
The recall, involving a replacement of faulty airbags that may cause injury or death, due to the rupturing of inflators when the airbags deploy in a crash.
We have seen Honda’s tireless efforts to ensure that all its faulty components are replaced, and to ensure the safety of its consumers are preserved.
This issue raises an important discussion point of safety – the safety aspects of the car are just as important as how we drive, and more often than not, even the most prudent of drivers are susceptible to danger if their vehicles are not maintained properly.
More importantly, manufacturers take all possible measures to ensure the safety of their products up to the warranted period of the vehicle.
Beyond this point, owners must take more active roles in ensuring the roadworthiness of older vehicles are retained for the remaining life of the vehicle.
Vehicle roadworthiness refers to the suitability of a vehicle for operation, ie. it meets the acceptable standards for safe driving on the road – which includes drivers, their passengers as well as those around them, either in other vehicles or pedestrians.
For example, a car with a faulty brake pump poses danger to those in and around the vehicle, as the inability of a car to stop, even at slower speeds, can cause serious injury or damage.
More often than not, the symptoms of potential brake failure are very difficult to spot for the untrained casual motorist. It takes regular, periodic inspection by a trained mechanic to decide the fitness of vehicle components.
Apart from brakes, there are numerous points on the vehicle that require periodic inspection, such as above and under carriages, tyres, suspension systems, emissions, front and rear light, etc.
The introduction of more complex systems, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), has also added complication to the inspection process, creating an urgent need for expansion of the vehicle inspection sector.
The National Automotive Policy 2014 aims to address this issue through a voluntary vehicle inspection policy for private vehicles.
As inspection is already mandatory for commercial vehicles, it is now important for the nation to start its progress towards public awareness and infrastructure development to ensure adequate public access to periodic vehicle inspection is guaranteed for all motorists.
Other than Puspakom, there are numerous centres for vehicle safety inspection, including respective service centres appointed by car makers.
In fact, we can see many OEMs offering free inspection to their customers during this festive season.
At the end of this week, millions of cars will begin the mass movement out of the capital city, travelling back to our loved ones.
I hope that our preparation for a safe journey home is at par with the preparations for the day of festivities itself.
At the end of the day, it takes just one minor malfunction that leads to years of regret and sorrow.
I urge all those intending to travel this year to take some time to inspect your vehicle at your nearest qualified mechanic to ensure a happy and fruitful journey.
Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all Malaysians "Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Dan Batin".