By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The number of fatal traffic crashes on freeways, or A1-type accidents, as well as casualties in such incidents, rose by more than 50 percent from January to last month, the Freeway Bureau said on Tuesday.
Twenty-nine accidents that occurred in the past five months led to deaths immediately or within 24 hours, a 55 percent increase from the same period last year, bureau data showed.
Thirty people were killed and 20 injured, up 56 percent and 52.6 percent respectively, the bureau said.
Photo courtesy of the Chiayi County Fire Bureau via CNA
About 62 percent of the A1-type accidents were caused by people changing lanes without using their turn signals or not paying attention to road situations ahead, the bureau said, adding that approximately 45 percent of the crashes occurred from 10pm to 6am.
Eighteen of the A1-type accidents were caused by sedan vehicles, it added.
The data showed that drivers had failed to fasten their seat belts in 10 of the A1-type accidents, the bureau said.
People were driving faster than the freeway speed limit in 13 of the incidents, it said.
“Among the 10 accidents in which drivers did not fasten their seat belts, seven of them were driving above the speed limit. This shows that drivers who do not buckle up are likely to speed as well,” the bureau said.
Eight of the 29 A1-type accidents also involved driver fatigue, it said, adding that this shows some drivers embark on trips without first getting enough rest.
“Given the severity of the [COVID-19] pandemic in the nation, we encourage people to reduce road trips as much as possible. However, if travel is unavoidable, drivers should make sure that they get enough rest before hitting the road, fasten their seat belt, operate within the speed limit and watch the road ahead,” the bureau said.
Drivers who do not fasten their seat belts when driving would be fined NT$3,000 to NT$6,000, under the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), it said.
The fine for speeding on freeways is NT$3,000 to NT$24,000, the bureau said, adding that people driving more than 60kph over the speed limit would be ordered to stop driving immediately, and face suspension of their vehicle license plates for six months or revocation of their driver’s license.
In other news, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) apologized to lawmakers for the inconvenience experienced by freeway commuters and logistics service operators during the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, due to tightened traffic control measures that the bureau implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The average traffic volume during the three-day long weekend was 47.4 million vehicle kilometers, down 59 percent compared with the same long weekend last year, bureau data showed.
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