Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Motorist crashes into, kills pig in Baguashan Tunnel

By Ruan Yi-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

A screen shot from YouTube shows a pig about to be hit by a car in the Baguashan Tunnel on expressway No. 76 in Changhua County on June 29.

Photo: Juan Yi-yu, Taipei Times

Few motorists are on the lookout for pigs on the nation’s highways and byways, but footage from the dashboard camera of one car recorded an unexpected head-on collision with a pig as it drove through Baguashan Tunnel on expressway No. 76 in Changhua County at about 7:56am on June 29.

An investigation of surveillance footage from the tunnel’s traffic control center by the National Highway Police revealed that at about 7am that morning, a small truck carrying pigs had passed through the tunnel when at about the 600m marker, one of the pigs fell out of the truck onto the expressway. The farmer, surnamed Chen (陳), did not realize that he had lost a pig and did not stop.

Despite falling onto the expressway, the pig quickly recovered and was soon sauntering up and down the tunnel, scaring motorists left and right.

Unfortunately, one driver did not notice the pig until it was too late, colliding with the animal and sending it flying to the other side of the tunnel.

An alarm at the traffic control center sounded the moment the accident happened and center personnel rushed to the scene.

Despite their quick response time, the pig had died from its injuries, so its carcass was loaded onto a truck and taken back to the center, where personnel started going through the surveillance footage trying to find its owner.

At this point Chen had discovered he was one pig short, but had no idea where it could have gone.

Not long after the National Highway Police contacted Chen to tell him that not only had his pig been found, but he was to be fined NT$9,000 (US$300) for violating the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例).

Chen also had to settle the issue of compensation with the motorist who crashed into the pig, because the collision caused tens of thousands of NT dollars in damage.

The owner of the car uploaded the footage captured by the vehicle’s dashboard camera onto the Internet. Many netizens expressed disbelief at the recording, though some were critical of the motorist for not driving more carefully.

Commenting on the incident, Yu Wen-kai (余文揩), director of the Lintsuo Oversight Station of the Directorate-General of Highways’ second maintenance office, said it was not strange to see stray cats or dogs in the tunnel.

“Once even a passenger was left in the tunnel after arguing with the driver and being forced to get out,” Yu said.

The automated detection system in the tunnel goes off if it detects anything out of the ordinary, Yu said, which can range from items falling from vehicles, fires, vehicles driving the wrong way or pedestrians in the tunnel.

The center’s personnel are on duty 24 hours a day and they handle all situations after double-checking the surveillance footage, Yu said.

However, the tunnel’s surveillance systems are no guarantee of safety, Yu said, adding that is the responsibility of the drivers themselves.

Motorists should always drive safely, especially those driving trucks loaded with goods, Yu said, adding that truck drivers should make certain that the goods in the trucks are properly positioned and secured.

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