Monday, January 7, 2008

Miros: Lorry extensions dangerous

Extensions, or overhangs, that allow small trucks and lorries to carry longer and heavier loads are death traps on the roads.

Most of the overhangs also do not have proper or well-located reflectors, which add to the danger posed to other motorists.

Malaysian Institute for Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said the overhangs were not only at the same height as a car's windshield but also had a lot of space underneath, which means a car keeps moving after impact. “When a car collides with the rear of such a lorry or truck, there is no bumper-to-bumper impact.

“Instead, the overhang slams straight into where the drivers and passengers are sitting.

“This must be rectified before more lives are lost,” he said.

Prof Radin Umar was referring to an incident on Wednesday when 45-year-old Jamaliah Jawan was killed after colliding into a lorry's overhang near the Tapah rest area on the North-South Expressway. The lorry was laden with metal roof frames.

“The Miros crash investigation team checked the accident site and vehicles involved on Friday. This is the fifth fatal case involving overhangs that Miros has investigated since last year,” he said.

Prof Radin Umar said Miros, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Road Safety Department were now studying the design of trucks and lorries with overhangs to ensure no more lives are lost.

“There should be rear-end designs to cover what is exposed so that a car would not go underneath the truck or lorry andinstead collide with a bumper, thereby preventing the overhang from penetrating the passenger compartment.”

Prof Radin Umar said the results of investigations showed that the problem had to be dealt with, especially in improving crash compatibility.

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