Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

MOTC seeking to fine for debris spills

NEW FREEWAY RULES:Drivers who lose cargo or items from their vehicles on freeways or expressways would be fined NT$3,000 per lane, in half-hour increments

By Cheng Wei-chi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A two-month public review period for proposed amendments to the Traffic Regulations for Expressways and Freeways (高速公路及快速道路交通管制規則) and the Regulations for Fee Collections on Items Left on National Freeways (國道散落物收費要點) has opened, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said on Tuesday.

Under the proposed amendments, drivers who have cargo fall onto freeways or expressways would be fined for every 30 minutes that the cargo remains on the roadway and for how many lanes the cargo is spread across.

The fine would be NT$3,000 for each lane, with no maximum limit set, with the clock starting the moment the Freeway Bureau is notified that there is debris on an expressway or freeway.

If the items are cleared away within 30 minutes, the driver would not be fined, the bureau said.

To avoid drivers trying to evade fines by not notifying the bureau, the draft amendment includes the clause that “any drop-off that is handled with the assistance of the competent authorities managing freeways.”

Drivers and vehicle owners are already required to cover expenses incurred when government authorities assist in removing debris that have fallen off their vehicles.

If passed by the legislature, the amendments could take effect at the end of the year at the earliest, the ministry said.

Bureau statistics show that there were 4,818 debris-related incidents from 2007 to 2017, 15 of which resulted in a death, while 413 resulted in injuries.

The statistics showed that more than 40,000 incidents of debris on freeways have been recorded and the time taken to clear such debris averages 14.7 minutes per item.

Tire peels are the most often reported items of debris, with metal containers second and plastic containers third, the bureau said.

However, items ranging from pianos and refrigerators to religious sculptures, as well as dogs and cats, have been dropped on freeways, while a Formosan Sikka deer was once run over, it said.

Reminders to secure cargo are being posted and vehicles transporting liquids could face a fine of NT$3,000 to NT$9,000 for leaking foul liquid, the bureau said.

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