Too many accidentsThe deadly cargo truck crash near a tunnel in South Gyeongsang that caused three deaths on Thursday was further proof that the country has failed to learn from repeated past similar incidents and remains safety-negligent. Casualties occur every year from crashes and accidents near tunnels since 2015.
Authorities vowed various actions, including fixing structural problems in the tunnel entries and exits and preventing drivers from dozing off while driving. But major accidents still happen.
The latest accident again underscored slackness in safety awareness among hazardous materials carriers. The 5-ton cargo truck carrying drums of flammable materials raises questions of an overload.
When it hit a guardrail, several drums instantly rolled down suggesting they might not have been fixed properly.
Overloading and slack fixing of cargoes have been chronic problems with the road transportation industry. The government has repeatedly pledged tougher discipline on safety measures but has been lax.
The truck driver was a 76-year-old, which also raises questions about the danger posed by senior citizens behind the wheel. An elderly driver is slower in responsiveness to dangers on the road.
Traffic accidents caused by drivers 65 or older accounted for 11.1 percent of accidents last year. Many of the accidents caused deaths. There is no age limit for drivers of trucks transporting hazardous materials.
There are no regulations to stop an elderly driver on a fast road with an overloaded, aged truck. The government again promised to take actions after the latest incident. This time, it should make sure the measures lead to sure results in ensuring road safety.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 4, Page 30