KOCHI: Trucks and goods carriers carrying iron rods, concrete and bamboo poles and wooden logs that protrude from the rear are posing danger to motorists in Kochi city.
Two youth were killed on Saturday last on the Vytilla-Palarivattom bypass when the protruding iron rods in an unlit truck pierced their body. The youth were returning on a two-wheeler from Malayatoor. The accident occurred at 3.30 a.m. when the motorists were caught unawares as the truck did not have its parking lights on.
M. Sekharan, Assistant Commissioner of Police (City Traffic East), said the iron rods were protruding 1.5 metres from the truck's platform. "The vehicle was waiting to be unloaded at an adjacent shop. No lights had been switched on to warn motorists," he said. The driver has been charged with parking the vehicle sans mandatory lights, on the road.
"We plan to undertake a drive against trucks that are loaded beyond the permissible weight and dimensions," Mr. Sekharan said.
Overloaded vehicles pose two types of threats. Fellow motorists may ram into the poles and other goods protruding from their platform.
The risk increases manifold at night. Secondly, the axle and wheels may collapse, unable to bear the load.
Two years back, the crew of a private television channel escaped with grievous injuries after their car hit the rear of a truck that was carrying railway tracks, in Aluva. "The consignment was protruding a few metres from the truck's platform. We were following the truck, when it suddenly applied the brake. It did not have tail and brake lamps. Two of us suffered multiple fractures in the leg under the impact of the collision and another suffered serious head injury after his head rammed into the tracks," says Rajesh K Nair, the channel's cameraman.
M.N. Prabhakaran, Ernakulam RTO, says that under the Motor Vehicles' Act, no consignment must protrude out more than three feet from a vehicle's rear.
"While prominent red flags have to be used during day, highly-visible lights and reflectors have to be installed on the load at night. Accidents are likely during night, especially at turnings, when the drivers' vision is blinded by bright headlights from the opposite direction."
The Motor Vehicles' Department plans to conduct a drive against vehicles that are overloaded and those that do not have the mandatory lights and windscreen wiper while parked in the carriageway of roads. "Eleven more assistant motor vehicle inspectors have joined the Ernakulam RTO office. We will soon set up a mobile-enforcement squad at night, focussed at checking rule violations by goods carriers. The licence of drivers of errant trucks will be suspended and the vehicle detained till all safety features are complied with. Members of the public can pass on information to the squad at 98957 13947," Mr. Prabhakaran said.
He added that the department would soon get additional speed radars and lux meter (to assess the brightness of headlights). One reflective triangle is a must in every five feet space, for vehicles parked on the road.