Drivers face phone fines
Drivers caught using hand-held digital devices while driving could be fined up to NT$3,000 starting next month, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. An amendment to a statute governing traffic safety that cleared the Legislature earlier this year is designed to clamp down on drivers using hand-held devices such as mobile telephones and computers, a transport official said, adding that the law would require drivers to focus on traffic, even while waiting at red lights. Drivers caught using such devices for dialing numbers, listening to music or phone calls or any other function that hampers driving safety would face a maximum fine of NT$3,000. The penalty for motorcyclists was set at NT$1,000. Cyclists and pedestrians will not be affected by the laws. However, a grace period is likely to be implemented to familiarize drivers with the new regulations, the official said.
Plane veers off runway
All 227 people aboard an Eva Airways plane were reported safe after the aircraft veered off the runway during landing at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) yesterday, transport officials said. The A-330 commemorative Hello Kitty plane, which was arriving from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, broke two edge lights and damaged the gravel surface when it skidded off the runway at 12:43pm, airport officials said. All passengers were unhurt, but the airport was forced to close until 1:32pm, causing disruptions to eight flights. The plane skidded for 220m before the pilot managed to bring it under control and return to the runway, airport authorities said. They added that the cause of the problematic landing is being investigated by the Aviation Safety Council.