Wed, Dec 27, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Draft proposes transportation safety council

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:It would be inappropriate for the MOTC to probe accidents on public transportation systems, as it would be both player and referee, lawmakers said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A draft act for the establishment of a national transportation safety council is to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review before June next year, the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said yesterday.

The ASC was tasked with coordinating with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) over issues related to the establishment of an independent agency that would investigate all types of transportation-related accidents, following a resolution passed by the legislature’s Transportation and Communications Committee.

Except the ASC, which investigates the causes of plane crashes and other types of aviation accidents, the nation does not have agencies investigating other types of transportation-related accidents such as maritime, railway and highway accidents.

Instead, two committees under the Maritime and Port Bureau and Bureau of the High Speed Rail are tasked with investigating maritime and railway accidents.

Major traffic accidents on freeways or highways are investigated by prosecutors.

However, lawmakers said that it would be inappropriate for the MOTC to investigate accidents on public transportation systems, because doing so would cause the ministry to be both player and referee.

They proposed that an independent agency be formed to investigate transportation-related accidents.

ASC Chairman Hwung Hwung-hweng (黃煌煇) said that the national transportation safety council would remain an independent agency once it is established.

In addition to aviation accidents, the council would also investigate maritime, railway and highway accidents, Hwung said.

However, Hwung said that the new council would only investigate major highway accidents, such as the bus crash on the National Chiang Wei-Shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) in February that killed 33 people.

The council would dispatch investigators to investigate major highway accidents along with prosecutors, Hwung said.

The ASC this month began discussing issues regarding the new council with the MOTC officials, Hwung said.

Based on a preliminary plan proposed by the ASC, the new council would have one chairperson and two deputy chairpeople.

The number of investigators would rise from 28 to 50, with the new investigators potentially coming from several agencies under the MOTC.

Hwung said that the agencies include the Institute of Transportation, the Department of Railways and Highways, the Bureau of High Speed Rail, the Railway Reconstruction Bureau and the Taiwan Railways Administration.

As the nation lacks experts in maritime accidents, either the Department of Aviation and Navigation can recommend individuals or the government can recruit specialists from overseas, the ASC said.

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