Tougher penal­ties and lower toll fees can curb truck over­load­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - MIN­IS­TER OF TRANS­PORT LI XIAOPENG

re­cently said that over­loaded trucks pose a se­ri­ous dan­ger to road safety and he ad­vised re­vis­ing the Crim­i­nal Law so that the over­load­ing of trucks is in­cluded in the crime of danger­ous driv­ing and those driv­ing over­loaded trucks face crim­i­nal penal­ties. Bei­jing Times com­mented:

Many driv­ers might have the bad ex­pe­ri­ence of see­ing an over­loaded truck on the road. They pose a dan­ger to the safety of all, as be­ing over­loaded means they need a longer dis­tance to brake in case of emer­gen­cies and their weight might even threaten the in­tegrity of bridges.

Data show that more than 50 per­cent of all road ac­ci­dents are caused by the over­load­ing of trucks. That’s why al­most all driv­ing schools teach new driv­ers to stay away from over­loaded trucks as if they were mov­ing bombs.

It is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to take stricter mea­sures to curb the over­load­ing of trucks. How­ever, the pro­posal of the min­is­ter might not solve the root prob­lem. Trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies and truck driv­ers know the dan­ger of over­load­ing, too, but they still choose it be­cause of the chaotic sit­u­a­tion in the trans­port mar­ket

he num­ber of trucks on the roads has been grow­ing fiercely for the past sev­eral years, as a re­sult of which trans­port com­pa­nies have to com­pete with

each other by low­er­ing their prices, which shrinks their profit mar­gins.

Worse, the high­way tolls are rather high. Of­fi­cial data show that China’s road trans­porta­tion costs are much higher than those of Europe and the United States, and high­way tolls and other fees ac­count for 20 per­cent of the costs. In a fresh sur­vey, 56 per­cent of the trans­port en­ter­prises have com­plained they will lose money if they do not re­quire their driv­ers to over­load their trucks.

There­fore, the min­is­ter’s pro­posal of tak­ing harsher mea­sures might not be suf­fi­cient to solve the prob­lem. As long as high­way tolls re­main high and trans­port en­ter­prises have to over­load their trucks in or­der to make money, the prob­lem of over­load­ing will re­main.

In or­der to root out the prob­lem, the au­thor­i­ties . need to not only take harsher mea­sures, but also lower the high­way tolls and bet­ter reg­u­late the mar­ket, so that driv­ers and trans­port en­ter­prises can sur­vive with­out over­load­ing their trucks.

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