Doubling of fine for objects on freeway proposed

In response to the danger posed to motorists by objects falling from vehicles onto roads, a lawmaker has proposed doubling the fine for offending drivers on freeways and expressways.

Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party proposed an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act to introduce the enhanced punishment.

Regardless of size, any object falling from a vehicle on a freeway or expressway presents a serious risk to motorists behind them who may be forced to break suddenly, Chiu said Sunday.

Such a maneuver could easily result in a rear-end collision and personal injury, he added. In addition, traffic police often risk life and limb to recover such fallen objects, he added.

“Motorists should be held liable for causing danger,” the lawmaker argued.

Under existing laws, motorists can be fined between NT$3,000 (US$92) and NT$9,000 in the event a cargo leaks, scatters, emits a foul odor or where they fail to properly secure passengers and cargos.

In Chiu’s proposal, the fine will be doubled when those situations occur on freeways or expressways.

Chiu appended to the proposal official statistics that indicate “improperly secured cargoes” were one of the top five causes of traffic accidents on national freeways from 2009 to 2015.

Some of the stranger objects to have fallen on freeways range from car parts to electronic home appliances, furniture and even livestock.

Once a huge water tank was seen rolling down a freeway, according to the National Highway Police Bureau.

Statistics from the bureau show that the number of drivers fined for “carrying cargoes that leak or scatter” and “failing to properly secure cargoes” has increased from more than 1,200 in 2006 to over 5,100 in 2015.

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

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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