Published on August 2nd, 2022 | by Subhash Nair


A Special Driving License Won’t Reduce Pick-Up Truck Fatalities In Malaysia

Will a special driving license solve the issue of pick-up truck road safety in Malaysia?

Last week, Bahasa Malaysia publication Kosmo! ran a cover page story suggesting that special drivers licenses for pick-up trucks should be mandated by the government. This was in response to an increasing number of fatal road accidents involving pick-up trucks in the country.

Understandably, this upset a number of pick-up truck owners on Facebook. But it also rubbed us the wrong way, and not because we think there isn’t a problem at all.

We’ve written about pick-up truck crashes on multiple occasions. We’ve noted that the 4WD functionality on pick-up trucks give drivers a false sense of security in the wet. While all-wheel drive systems can improve traction, the systems in pick-up trucks are usually meant for off-road use. On top of that, the height and weight distribution of pick-up trucks (particularly unladen ones) can make them unintuitive to many drivers during emergency manoeuvres.

However, we don’t believe that this suggestion reported by Kosmo! makes any sense. There’s the logistical issue of having hundreds of thousands of pick-up truck drivers sit for additional training. These vehicles are largely used by commercial operators who rely on these machines to get their day-to-day business operations moving. Imagine asking them to send all of their drivers (or themselves) back to driving schools just because a handful of private owners are driving pick-ups like hooligans.

pick-up truck

It has also been suggested that these vehicles are just too powerful for the average driver. Today, smaller displacement engines like the 1.9L Bluepower DDI engine from Isuzu are able to supply 350Nm of torque, more than enough for most applications. Yet the same company also still sells the 3.0L engine with 450Nm of torque, which arguably is a little excessive, even for those who use that torque to haul cargo. Other manufacturers have started to introduce ‘high-performance’ versions of their vehicles like the Ford Ranger Raptor. Yes, speed sells, but perhaps if a gentleman’s agreement was made between all pick-up truck manufacturers, we could have trucks that just don’t encourage fast driving the way they do today.

But even if this came to be, there would still be countless pick-up trucks already on the road with excessively powerful engines. All drivers, whether behind the wheel of a pick-up truck or some old jalopy, just need a bit of common sense and sensibility. That’s something that goes beyond just issuing a license.

End note

By the way, the photo of the wrecked MPV that Kosmo! used in their cover was a little misleading. Yes, it was caused by someone driving a pick-up truck, but the driver was also high on meth behind the wheel. He could have caused an accident even if he was in a hatchback if he made the same mistake of jumping a red light.

“When they arrived at the scene, the victim’s vehicle was believed to have turned right at the junction after the traffic light turned green. However, a Nissan Navara four-wheel-drive vehicle which is believed to have run the red light suddenly came and crashed head-on into the Toyota Vellfire, which caused it to spin around and hit the road divider,” said Pahang Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department chief Supt Kamarulzaman Jusoh of the incident in January 2022.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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