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Published: Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 3:45:44 PM

Falling debris, rising road accidents

PETALING JAYA: Debris falling off trucks and lorries onto PLUS Expressway roads has caused almost daily road accidents, with the number climbing every year.

Unsecured cargo from the back of these vehicles or exploded tyre fragments often land onto the middle of the roads, which other motorists only see when it’s too late.

PLUS Malaysia Bhd managing director Datuk Noorizah Abd Hamid said 292 road accidents were recorded on PLUS-managed highways from January to October.

The number of debris-related accidents are also climbing: from 231 in 2011 to 285 in 2012, with an average of two fatalities each year since 2008.

“Three per cent of accidents on the highway are caused by these obstacles. It’s unnecessary. We should not have them on our highways,” Noorizah told The Star.

Most of the time, the debris come in the form of exploded tyre fragments, scrap material, bricks or wood.

However, the stuff falling off lorries vary, and large traffic jams have occurred because of it.

“We’ve come across sofas! And mattresses sitting in the middle of the road. Once, cows escaped onto the highway from a lorry on its way to a slaughterhouse,” Noorizah said.

She also referred to an incident on Jan 18, 2011, when RM75,000 worth of coins fell onto the North-South Expressway after an accident and caused motorists rushing to collect the dropped money. Accidents of this sort have also been reported on other roads.

On Dec 26, a lorry carrying 34 drums of acid skidded and overturned, spilling the corrosive material onto the Machang-Kota Baru road in Kelantan.

Noorizah added that there were times when vegetables and rice fell onto the highway after the lorries carrying them tipped over.

In these cases, PLUS would close sections of the road while the Expressway Maintenance Project Berhad (Propel) would be called in to manage the traffic build-up.

Most times, the debris would be small enough for PLUS Ronda patrol staff to carry off the road, although many have to risk their lives to do it, especially at night.

“That’s why we equip them with safety vest, batons and emergency lights. Safety comes first,” Noorizah said.

She said a two-man PLUS Ronda team would patrol both sides of a 25km highway stretch, constantly on the lookout for the debris and respond to an average four complaints a day.

PLUS Ronda’s 400 staff, she added, were required to rush to these sites in under 25 minutes.

Noorizah said getting debris off the roads needed the help of the police, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Road Transport Department (JPJ).

PLUS recorded an average of 89,000 lorries and trucks on the North-South Expressway daily, accounting for 7% of its total traffic.

Most of them go to and come from the expressways via major cities, ports, airports, industrial and commercial areas.

PLUS found the Tanjung Malim-Bukit Lanjan and Machap-Skudai stretches as having the highest number of accidents due to debris on the NSE.

Related stories:

SPAD working with police and JPJ to stem overloading

Even the best drivers can lose control

Tags / Keywords: Travel, Transport & Safety, plus, expressway, debris


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