Exclusive, Soerjanto Tjahjono Reveals 80 Percent Of Accidents On Toll Roads Due To Fatigue

Although it is known as a freeway, accidents still occur on toll roads. According to Soerjanto Tjahjono, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), 80 percent of accidents that occur on toll roads are caused by fatigue. During the current Eid homecoming period, for those of you who use toll roads and also non-toll roads, you must really pay attention to the fatigue factor and also other factors for safety. It's better to take a short break and then continue the journey, than things that are not desirable.


It hasn't been lost in our memories a year ago, there was a fatal accident on the Jombang - Mojokerto toll road that killed the artist couple Vanessa Angel and her husband, Bibi Ardiansyah. At that time, three other passengers, the driver, babysitter and Gala Sky, the baby of the Vanessa-Auntie couple managed to survive the accident. On Monday, April 18, another fatal accident occurred on the Pasuruan – Probolinggo toll road, this time involving the band Debu. Two people died in this accident; Firdaus (31) a resident of Kuala Lumpur, and Alhadad Amal Sheikh Aidaros (30) a resident of Selangor.

This is just a small example of the many accidents that have occurred on toll roads. From the monitoring carried out by the KNKT, 80 percent of the causes of accidents on toll roads are due to fatigue. "Well, this is interesting, now the president has built thousands of kilometers of toll roads. Our preparedness, the community and all aspects that support safety on this toll road, must really understand the problem. Remember 80 percent of accidents on toll roads are due to fatigue, so that's what we have to fight," said Soerjanto Tjahjono.

President Jokowi in his statement on Wednesday, April 6 predicts that 85 million will return to their hometowns to stay in touch with their families. Of this number, 14 million of them are from the Greater Jakarta area. Homecomers who will use private vehicles, both two-wheeled and four-wheeled, are predicted to reach 40 million people. Meanwhile, people who will use land public transportation reach 26 million and 8 million by air.

In addition, said the Minister of Transportation, there are also 8 million people using trains and 1.1 million people will use sea transportation. Then, the transportation that has been prepared by the government consists of 57,000 buses, 205 ships, 327 aircraft and navigation ships.

The euphoria of going home is understandable, for the last two years going home has been strictly limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the President announced that they were allowed to go home, the enthusiasm of the people to return to their hometown on Eid Al-Fitr was like a thirst that was met.

Furthermore, regarding accidents that often occur, the following is Soerjanto Tjahjono's explanation to Iqbal Irsyad, Edy Suherli, Savic Rabos and Rifai who met him at the KNKT office, Gambir, Central Jakarta not long ago. Here is the full excerpt.

According to Soerjanto Tjahjono, the Cipali toll road most often has accidents after repairing the rest area, there is a decrease in traffic accidents. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Accidents often occur on land, sea and air, during the past 2021 according to NTSC's monitoring, which one is the most dominant?

In general, the number of land accidents has decreased, but the fatality (death) has increased. We took the data from the police because only part of what we investigated. Then recently, there have been many incidents of brake failure, we are also conducting research and collaborating with universities to see how the impact of the pandemic has increased so high, especially trucks that are overloaded. It will be investigated why so many accidents occur. Is there a pandemic effect? But it can not be concluded because it is still in the process.

The problem of two-wheeled motor vehicle accidents is now our concern. So far, there has been less focus on two wheels in collaboration with Astra Honda Motor. They made a special student research center for two-wheelers. It is extraordinary with friends from Astra Honda Motor that he conducted safety riding training for more than 3,000 motorcycle users. From the results of their analysis, the conclusion has no impact. They also want this motorist to improve their safety. Collaborated with KNKT to conduct research.

For motor vehicle accidents; commercial car or personal, the main factor that causes? Is it human error or the condition of the vehicle that is no longer roadworthy, or are there other factors?

Accidents on land so far from all 4 modes, the NTSC has never said that it was a human error. There are human factors related to treatment. Regarding brake failure, we have several recommendations from the manufacturer. These vehicle designs comply with regulations in Europe and Japan. This is not necessarily suitable for Indonesia. We discussed with Astra Honda Motor, vehicles that sell well in Indonesia are not necessarily suitable in Japan, Thailand or Malaysia. But there is a design that sells for all countries. One of KNKT's recommendations to ATPM for trucks and commercial cars is to double the filling of the air compressor.

We also cooperate with the Korlantas Polda Metro for truck driver training. After completing the program, you can immediately get a general B1 SIM. But it's really professional.

According to Soerjanto Tjahjono, about level crossings on the railway line, they receive reports the most. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Many accidents occur on toll roads, usually what is the most common cause?

Now this is interesting, now the president has inaugurated thousands of kilometers of toll roads. Our preparedness, the community and all aspects that support safety on this toll road, must really understand the problem. Remember 80 percent of accidents on toll roads are due to fatigue, so that's what we have to fight. There is research on the Cipali toll road in this regard. In the past, the most accidents were on the Cipali toll road.

When the elevated toll road was not finished, and the toll road had reached Surabaya, if from East to West to Cipali it was between 11 pm and 6 am. From West to East also to Cipali at that hour. So sleepiness is piled up in Cipali.

Then we make a lot of chevron markings. When the night looks like the road narrows visually, there's an illusion, but the path isn't really narrow. We expect people to brake. The rest area on the Cipali toll road is made as attractive as possible, so that people want to rest. After that relax and can continue the journey back. For truck drivers, a comfortable place is also provided, a hot shower, bale-bale for sleeping, etc. With this effort accidents in Cipali decreased. But sadly the number of accidents shifted to the East.

Therefore, on the Sumatran toll road, which is already operating, we collaborate with local governments such as in Lampung to provide unique views along the road such as Lampung coffee and durian. Then we ask for the rest area to be made like in Cipali, where there is a proper rest area, a warm bath, and separate truck drivers from other transport drivers. Those are the steps we are trying to improve safety on toll roads. The main problem is fatigue.

For trains where accidents often occur on level crossings, such as recently in Tulungagung, buses are dragged by trains. What can be done to minimize accidents between trains, both trains and motorized vehicles as well as fellow trains?

The accident at this level crossing makes us sad, we get tired of receiving messages from our train friends about this accident, almost every day. If the level crossing is on a national road which is the responsibility of the central government, if it is a provincial road it will be a level I regional government, and so on until the lowest level. The problem is that the government's budget system is based on assets. If the regional government installs an early warning system, it will be blamed. If all is borne by the central government, the budget is limited.

In the law, there are no more level crossings, I said that is unrealistic. In America and Japan it still exists. How much does it cost to make a crossing that is not in an area of about 11,000? The government's APBN budget to complete level crossings, maybe 5-10 years is also not finished. Bureaucratic rules should also be simplified for safety issues.

What about accidents at sea, in what cases were the most dominant during 2021? What is the most common cause of marine accidents?

Problems at sea are also complicated, discipline problems when the ship is about to leave to apply for a sailing approval letter. In this sailing approval letter, one of the documents that must be submitted in accordance with the weather recommendations from the BMKG. Currently, to what extent are you disciplined at sea to comply with the weather conditions issued by the BMKG.

However, this weather recommendation data is still just a formality. It hasn't become a necessity, so when you're sailing, you're suddenly hit by a storm and the waves roll in. Actually, it wasn't all of a sudden, there were already information and warnings from BMKG. The only problem is that traditional ships do not yet have sophisticated equipment to access weather developments.

Airplane accidents get the most attention, even though out of all the modes of transportation, airplanes are the safest, is that true? What makes airplane crashes so public?

Because it is generally people who go up in terms of the social status of people who are middle to upper class, then many officials also go up. Then the price of the airplane is expensive. And the plane's regulations are so strict, among the four other modes of transportation it's the safest. When a plane crash occurs, it will get extra attention from the electronic print media. But the KM Sinar Bangun ship accident on Lake Toba is also phenomenal, everywhere I go when I have a meeting I am often asked about it.

What are your suggestions for transportation service users, transportation business actors and also the government that makes regulations so that the number of traffic accidents continues to decrease?

Each of the users, transportation entrepreneurs and regulators must comply with the existing rules. In flight, it is always updated because there are strict controls on this matter. The sea is not as tight as the air. Like it or not, we have to be concerned about this. Ahead of Eid, there is monitoring of the homecoming flow of Eid. That's why we ask companies to be able to provide THR earlier, employees can go home first. So there is no accumulation before Eid. So that the arrangement is easier from the officers. Minimum THR comes out 10 days before Eid.

Soerjanto Tjahjono Exercise and Adjust Diet
Soerjanto Tjahjono is aware that health must be maintained, by exercising and regulating diet. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Everyone has their own way to make their body healthy and fit. Soerjanto Tjahjono knew very well that his health would help him carry out his duties as Head of the KNKT to the fullest. Therefore, even though it is heavy, he tries to consistently exercise. Luckily he has a very caring family. They always encourage him to do sports even if it's just around the house.

“Before leaving for the office, in the morning I exercised and cycled around the house complex. You don't need to sweat, the important thing is to sweat. After that, take a shower, and get ready to go to the office. When I come home from work, if there is still time after dinner, I use it again for exercise, even though it is not as heavy as in the morning," said the man who was born in Jakarta, May 23, 1960.

Regarding his habit of exercising, he admits that he is encouraged by his children and grandchildren. “I am very lucky, my children and grandchildren are very caring. They don't get tired of encouraging and reminding me to exercise regularly to stay healthy,” said Soerjanto, who is still fit even though he is now more than six decades old.

And for this sport, he knows himself, the portion of exercise and the types of exercise that can be done now, of course, it is different when he was young. "Yes, just be aware, I don't dare to do heavy sports anymore. Portions and duration of exercise are also just enough. Yes, it is suitable for people my age. Badminton is gone, instead of exercising, cycling and swimming," said Soerjanto, who also encouraged ASN in the KNKT environment to do sports as well as to maintain health.

In addition to exercise, he continued, which he also maintains a diet. It controls what types of food are allowed to be consumed and how much food intake must also be controlled. Just so you know that all the suggestions and considerations were given not by other people but by his own son who happens to be a doctor by profession.

“My son happens to be a doctor. Yes, he has provided input and suggestions for the right portion of exercise and the right portion of food for me," he said.

“Now the sweets are much less. I suppress sweet food as much as possible if it can be avoided it is better. For example rice, I only ate one-fifth of the previous portion. As a balance, because rice is reduced, I eat more vegetables,” continued the man who doesn't like spicy food. As a child, he couldn't eat spicy food, his digestion would be problematic when he ate spicy food.


Not only Soerjanto Tjahjono's garden planted with fruit trees, but also vacant land in his housing complex. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Gardening is also one of Soerjanto Tjahjono's activities besides sports. The difference is, he does gardening on weekends. Whereas previously he was doing sports activities. "Saturday and Sunday, my activity at home is gardening while chatting with his wife at his house," he said.

Her children are married and have their own lives and can only provide encouragement through telephone and video calls. "Yes, if the children are married. They are independent with their respective families. So my wife and I are both gardening. If they are on vacation, they can only meet," he said.

He chose perennials of the type of fruit planted in his garden. Starting from longan, durian, rambutan, guava, mango, and others. Not enough with a garden in his yard, he also planted vacant land or the edges of the road in his housing with mango and rambutan plants. "I have planted more than 300 mango and rambutan trees," he continued.

Later when the trees planted in the vacant housing estates are harvested. Soerjanto asked security and cleaners to harvest the planted fruits. “I did ask security officers and cleaners to harvest. Please take it home and eat with your family. They also need vitamins from the fruits that are planted on the sosong land in the housing estate,” said Soerjanto.


Soerjanto Tjahjono advised millennials to achieve the highest possible goals. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

According to Soerjanto, this era of rapidly developing technology is a challenge in itself for millennials. “For today's millennials, I think it's easier to access information and career opportunities. It's different from when I was younger. It's not easy to find information," said the man who had a poor career at Garuda Indonesia. He held various important positions in aviation mechanics and safety until he finally retired and was trusted to serve as Head of the KNKT in the era of Minister of Transportation Ignasius Jonan.

Only, he continued, must have competence in order to win the competition. Because competitors are not only from within the country, but also from abroad. "If we are not ready, how can we win the competition," he said.

Whatever you aspire to, it is not impossible to achieve. “Everyone must prepare themselves so that their goals can be achieved. Want to be a professional, businessman or entrepreneur please. Do it according to your heart," he said. Soerjanto Tjahjono finished his undergraduate study in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology (1986) and continued his doctorate at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands (1998).

"Now the president has built thousands of kilometers of toll roads. Our preparedness, the community and all aspects that support safety on this toll road, must really understand the problem. Remember 80 percent of accidents on toll roads are due to fatigue, so that's what we have to fight."

Soerjanto Tjahjono