Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heavy Vehicles Continue To Ply The Roads During Peak Hours


SALES Executive Clara Yip cheated death after several stones the size of a tennis ball slipped out of a tarpaulin covered truck and shattered her car windscreen.

This happened while she was driving along the Federal Highway at about 7.15am — in the second lane, just after the Batu Tiga toll plaza.

She swerved to the fast lane to avoid a shower of more stones, that she almost crashed into the road barrier.

Yip was badly shaken. Showered with shards of glass, she watched as the truck driver drove off.

Lax enforcement: Heavy vehicles using the Federal Highway during peak hours.
“Traffic was heavy at that time. I could have been killed, it was really harrowing. All these would not have happened if the Road Transport Department (RTD) had enforced the ban on heavy vehicles from travelling on highways during peak hours in the morning,” she added.

Most car drivers like Yip, 33, are of the view that trucks, cement lorries, heavy vehicles and cargo trailers cause traffic congestion and accidents as they jostle with those rushing to work.

StarMetro went on a two-day surveillance at the Sungai Rasau toll plaza at about 7.45am and found that several heavy lorries were just driving past RTD enforcement officers who chose to stop private cars and taxis instead of taking action against the lorry drivers.

A car workshop (windscreen outlet) manager Simon Lim, said on an average he received 18 cases of shattered or cracked windscreens a week due to stones falling off from lorries.

Selangor RTD senior public relations officer Ahmad Awang said drivers of heavy vehicles often chose not to heed the regulation banning them from using three highway stretches in the Klang Valley during morning peak hours.

“We are worried by the trend that can cause road collisions and deaths. Selangor RTD is in charge of the stretch from Sungai Rasau to Batu Tiga toll plaza while the other routes come under the traffic police,” he said.

Since Aug 2 last year, the Government had decided that heavy vehicles (Class 2 and Class 3), laden weighing 10,000kg and above or unladen weighing 10,000kg and above, be banned along certain routes of the PLUS highway from 6.30am to 9.30am from Monday to Friday except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Ahmad added that the routes where heavy vehicles were banned in the morning peak periods included the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) between Shah Alam and Jalan Duta, the North South expressway (NSE) between Sungai Buloh and Bukit Lanjan as well as the Federal Highway Route 2 between Subang and Sungai Rasau.

It is in line with the existing ban on heavy vehicles from entering Kuala Lumpur during the morning peak hours to ease congestion due to breakdowns or accidents.

“We know that when a heavy vehicle is involved in a road collision, it can cause a massive jam.

“These trailers can weigh up to 65 tonnes with cargo, and when they collide with a car, you know who is going to get hurt. Our enforcement lacks manpower and from the Sungai Rasau to Batu Tiga stretch, we have 17 junctions that stream traffic to the Federal Highway. At this moment we are unable to cover all exits but we station our men at both toll plazas,” he said.

Ahmad added that before the ban, RTD used to order the heavy vehicles to stop on the road sides. “Before the ban, from August 2010 to July this year, some 700 heavy vehicles were stopped but no summons were issued as it was during the awareness period. In August this year 74 summonses issued, while in September we issued 84 summonses and in the first week of this month alone, 58 summonses were issued,” he said.

Ahmad said the department was going hard on the errant drivers.

“The department will not entertain any appeal. If the offender fails to settle the fine within 60-days, than he can be charged in court and can end up with a RM1,000 fine.”

Heavy vehicle operators are advised to make use of the parking facilities provided at the respective rest and service areas along the highway during the peak period before continuing their journey.

Suggested rest and service areas include the Sungai Buloh overhead bridge restaurant, Sungai Buloh lay-by, Rawang lay-by, Ulu Bernam RSA, USJ overhead bridge restaurant, Dengkil RSA, Seremban RSA, Serdang lay-by and Nilai lay-by.

Ahmad said his department would step up enforcement measures to ensure a smoother drive minus the heavy vehicles during the peak hours in the morning.

Articles taken from The Star Online


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