Tue, Jan 03, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Penalty for falling objects on roads may be doubled

ROAD HAZARDS:Improperly secured cargo is one of the top five causes of accidents on freeways, posing a danger to motorists, DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei said

Staff writer, with CNA

A lawmaker has proposed doubling the fine for objects falling from vehicles on freeways and expressways in light of the danger they pose to motorists.

Regardless of size, any object falling from a vehicle on a freeway or expressway presents a serious risk to other motorists who may be forced to break suddenly, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), who proposed an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), said on Sunday.

Such a maneuver could easily result in a rear-end collision and personal injury, he said.

Traffic police often risk life and limb to recover such objects, he added.

“Motorists should be held liable for causing danger,” he said.

Under existing laws, motorists can be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$9,000 in the event a cargo leaks, scatters or emits a foul odor, or if they fail to properly secure passengers and cargoes.

Chiu’s proposal would double the fine when those situations occur on freeways or expressways.

Official statistics show that “improperly secured cargo” was one of the top five causes of traffic accidents on national freeways from 2009 to 2015, he said.

Some of the stranger objects to have fallen on freeways are home appliances, furniture and livestock. A huge water tank was once seen rolling down a freeway, the National Highway Police Bureau said.

Bureau statistics show that the number of drivers fined for “carrying cargo that leaks or scatters” and “failing to properly secure cargoes” rose from more than 1,200 in 2006 to more than 5,100 in 2015.

Last year, at least 30 accidents involving fallen objects were reported along the Keelung-Yangmei section of Highway No. 1 every month.

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