The results of all these efforts were witnessed this year."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The number of traffic accidents across Indonesia has decreased compared with the same time last year, despite the exodus of home-bound travelers for this year`s Idul Fitri festivities.

Some 15 million Indonesians headed for their hometowns by land, air, and sea to celebrate Idul Fitri (Eid Fitr) on August 8 with their extended families.

To assist with managing traffic during the exodus, Indonesian Police launched Operation "Ketupat" on August 2, seven days ahead of Idul Fitri (D-7), and will run it until August 16, 2013 (D+7).

As part of Operation "Ketupat," the central government has deployed a joint task force of 88 thousand police officers and 62 thousand military personnel.

In support of the initiative, each provincial police station provided two-thirds of its personnel.

The Indonesian National Police Headquarters recorded a total of 471 fatalities in 2,095 traffic accidents across the country up to August 10 (D+2) after the Idul Fitri festivities.

"The road death toll reached 471," said a spokesman of the National Police Headquarters, Snr. Comr. Agus Rianto, on August 11, 2013. The fatalities dropped 29 percent from that during the same period last year.

He noted that 747 people had been seriously injured and 2,688 others had suffered minor injuries in the traffic accidents.

The road accidents involved 2,517 motorcycles, 588 passenger cars, 270 cargo cars, 140 buses, 94 non-motorized vehicles, and 12 private cars, he stated.

Agus Rianto had previously claimed that sleep deprivation was the most-cited cause of traffic accidents during the annual exodus.

Between August 2 and 5, 2013 alone, there were 832 traffic accidents that claimed 178 lives, he stated earlier.

Of the total number of road traffic accidents during August 2-5, 184 cases were due to sleep deprivation, 104 cases due to tailgating, 75 cases due to excessive speeding, 20 cases due to driving under the influence of alcohol, and 15 cases due to traffic-light violation, he explained in Jakarta on August 6, 2013.

In 2012, the number of Idul Fitri travelers stood at 15,012,954. Data indicates that 908 people were killed in traffic accidents during last year`s Idul Fitri exodus (D-7 until D+7), an increase of 17 percent from figures in 2011.

Of last year`s 7,870 traffic accidents, 5,223, or 70 percent, befell motorcyclists.

Up to 2,807,999 motorcycles were used by Idul Fitri travelers in 2012, an increase of 6.16 percent from the 2,468,720 motorcycles used in 2011.

This year, the number of Idul Fitri home-bound travelers and vehicles, particularly motorcycles, has reportedly dropped.

The National Integrated Idul Fitri Holiday Command Post recently pointed out in a statement that the number of home-bound travelers using public transport this year had declined 7.64 percent from the same period last year.

A decline was also seen in the number of bus passengers traveling during Idul Fitri, with 2,394,795 people taking the bus in 2013, down 12.31 percent from 2,731,001 bus passengers last year.

The number of cars joining this year`s Idul Fitri exodus also dropped by four percent from the previous year.

In the Central and West Java Provinces alone, the number of motorcycles used by home-bound travelers decreased by 20 percent.

The police`s public awareness campaigns and the availability of free transportation for Idul Fitri travelers, offered by various companies, are believed to be major factors in the decline in motorcycles and private cars used during the exodus, he added.

"Over the past two years, we have continually warned the public that motorcycles are not safe for `mudik` (returning to hometowns for Idul Fitri). We told them that riding motorcycles on long-distance trips is dangerous because of the increased potential for traffic accidents and other problems. So, our two-year campaign has been successful," stated Indonesian Police Chief General Timur Pradopo in Jakarta on Aug. 6, 2013.

He added that the success of the campaign could be partly attributed to the free mudik programmes that government and private-sector agencies had organized.

"The results of all these efforts were witnessed this year," Pradopo concluded.

Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri believed that traveling home on motorcycles should remain a last resort.

He urged home-bound motorcyclists to drive very carefully, especially when travelling with children.

"My appeal to those traveling on motorcycles is very simple: Please be careful. Please don`t place your children between two adults because they may have difficulty breathing by the time you arrive at your destination," the minister noted recently.

The social affairs ministry has established quick response teams to assist children and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable of travelers, during their journey to their hometowns.

In general, the national security situation was under control. Since Operation "Ketupat" 2013 was launched, police have recorded a total of 1,273 conventional crimes, 40 trans-national crimes, and 8 crimes against state property.

Up to August 10, police had recorded 138 cases of motorcycle theft, 129 cases of theft and heavy violence, 72 cases of gross manhandling, and 20 cases of theft with violence.

The crimes were mostly committed in East Java, followed by Central Java, Yogyakarta, South Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara.

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2013