Failure to yield right-of-way was the leading contributor to fatal traffic accidents last year for the second consecutive year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the National Police Agency yesterday.
In 2012, drunk driving was still the leading cause of fatal accidents, followed by failure to yield violations and failure to comply with traffic signals, National Police Agency traffic division head Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) said.
However, failure to yield violations has outranked drunk driving as the main culprit of deadly accidents for two straight years since 2013, he added.
Most violations involved vehicles on a branch road failing to yield to vehicles on an arterial road, vehicles on the left failing to yield to vehicles on the right, vehicles on a route with fewer lanes failing to yield to vehicles on a route with more lanes, or vehicles taking a turn failing to yield to vehicles going forward, he said, adding that most accidents occurred where there are no signs or traffic lights.
A total of 258 category A1 accidents — where the injured party died within 24 hours of the accident — were related to drivers and motorists’ failure to yield right-of-way last year, with 260 deaths and 107 injuries, Fang said.
Category A2 accidents — non-fatal traffic accidents — in association with failure to yield violation peaked at 63,507 cases, with 86,765 people injured, he said.
The police issued a total of 19,538 citations for failure to yield violations last year, but that failed to stem unruly driving, he said.
Failure to yield the right-of-way can be seen at junctions and alleyways, with vehicle operators not bothering to stop or slow when crossing an intersection, resulting in a great number of traffic collisions, he said.
Feng Chia University transportation professor Lee Ke-tsung (李克聰) said that Taiwanese always yield seats on public transport, but fail to yield when on the road, which he said is a “national shame.”
Lee said he has witnessed many motorists near his university who do not slow at all when crossing an intersection, suggesting that vehicle operators are unacquainted with vehicle right-of-way rules.
The agency called for motorists to come to a complete stop whenever the traffic light turns yellow or wherever there is no sign or traffic light at an intersection.
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