Sat, Oct 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Report finds truck wing mirrors cause 40 deaths a year

Staff Writer, with CNA

Badly fitted truck wing mirrors and side guards caused an estimated 40 deaths a year between 2006 and this year, the Control Yuan said.

The government’s top watchdog has asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to make improvements by subsidizing installation or insurance costs for truck owners, or cutting taxes to speed up the replacement of old vehicle parts.

Although the ministry has made many amendments to the safety standards of side mirrors and side guards on large vehicles, the newer and stricter regulations are only applicable to licensed trucks that were imported or manufactured after the changes to the regulations, which accounts for only about 10 percent of the total number, Control Yuan member Lee Ful-dien (李復甸) said on Tuesday.

Even though there are still many hazardous vehicle parts among the remaining 90 percent of licensed trucks in the country, the ministry has not implemented support measures, Lee said.

Lee said that when he was working as a lawyer 30 years ago, his first case concerned a person who was disabled after they were struck by a truck mirror.

Safety regulations for such mirrors have not improved over the past 30 years, he said.

Meanwhile, a separate Control Yuan report on tour buses published earlier this week has highlighted the need to formulate a strategy for retiring old tour buses.

As of June, there were 13,270 tour buses in Taiwan. Of these, 31 percent were more than 10 years old, 23.6 percent were more than 12 years old, 11.3 percent were more than 15 years old and 2.35 percent were more than 20 years old, Control Yuan member Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) said.

According to current regulations, tour buses that are more than 12 years old are not allowed on mountain roads and must not exceed speeds of 90kph on highways.

However, not a single case has been brought to date, indicating that the Directorate-General of Highways has been ineffective in implementing its regulations, Cheng said.

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