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Crashes trigger call to check road safety

Wang Xiaoyou
Updated: Nov 23,2018 9:09 AM     China Daily

The Ministry of Public Security said on Nov 21 that traffic regulators across the country will complete a thorough inspection of accident-prone areas by year’s end and propose rectification plans to local governments.

The move came after a spate of fatal traffic accidents in the past month have drawn attention to safety.

The inspection will focus on expressways and regular roads that have seen more than three fatal accidents in the past three years.

Roads that have recorded more than one accident with at least three fatalities are also subject to inspection.

For hazardous road sections that require time for rectification, traffic regulators should notify the public so drivers are aware of the situation, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport has ordered local transport bodies to immediately launch investigations to identify risks with guardrails and structures separating lanes on roads and bridges, steep or long downhill stretches and toll stations, Wu Chungeng, the ministry spokesman, said at a news conference on Nov 22.

He said the transport ministry condemns passengers who distract, or even attack, buses’ drivers and vowed to step up efforts to ensure safe operations in urban areas.

On Oct 28, a passenger attacked a bus driver in Chongqing, causing the bus to plunge off a bridge, killing 13 people on board. Two others remain missing and are presumed dead.

In response to the incident, the ministry released a notice on Nov 9 to strengthen driver safety training and emergency response. It ordered the installation of physical barriers around bus drivers to separate them from passengers.

However, Wu said that in the 20 days immediately after the incident, more than 10 cases of passengers disturbing bus drivers were reported, including incidents of assault, grabbing the steering wheel and covering the driver’s eyes.

“They risk lives of other passengers to vent personal anger,” Wu said. “Such action should be denounced by all. More importantly, they should face harsh legal penalties.”

About 200 million trips are made on buses in China every day, thanks to nearly 1 million bus drivers, he said.

On Nov 3, a truck carrying a long tower-crane crashed into a heavy box truck and 31 minibuses at a highway toll station in Lanzhou, Gansu province, killing 15 people and injuring 45. Police said a brake failure was to blame.

Ten days later, on Nov 13, 10 people died and two were severely injured in a collision between a concrete mixer truck and an oncoming minibus in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. An investigation into the cause of that crash is ongoing.