Proposed basic road safety law – Taiwan English News


A group of opposition KMT party lawmakers are calling for a basic road safety law to reduce the number of traffic fatalities, after statistics showed the death toll in traffic accidents in Taiwan exceeds that of Japan – a neighboring country with a population more than five times that of Taiwan.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) representative Yeh Yu-Lan (葉毓蘭) said Taiwan Central News Agency that the number of traffic fatalities in Taiwan in 2020 “reached 3,000” with 482,333 injured and an estimated economic and social cost of NT$500 billion.

Road safety statistics from the Ministry of Transport and Communications showed that 2,972 people died in traffic accidents across the country in 2020, up 3.7% from the previous year. The total number of road deaths for 2021 has not yet been released.

Yeh pointed out that the number of road deaths in Taiwan in 2020 exceeded the number of road deaths in Japan, when Japan had a population 5 times greater than that of Taiwan.

Japan’s population in 2020 was 125.8 million, while Taiwan’s population in the same year was 23.6 million. In 2020, 2,972 people died in traffic accidents in Taiwan, while the death toll in road accidents in Japan fell to a record high of 2,839.

Yeh said Taiwan road safety has deteriorated in recent years and suggested that the problem was systemic. The MOTC is unable to ensure coordination between departments, has no accountability mechanism and operates in a car-centered environment. There is a disconnect between traffic management, planning and enforcement, lack of civic participation and a decoupling of international trends.

Yeh pointed out that in the international community, to improve road safety, the most frequently discussed traffic policies, known as 3Es, are traffic education, traffic engineering and enforcement of traffic law. However, Taiwan has long relied on law enforcement to resolve any issues. Yeh thinks we should start with road safety education and traffic improvement projects, develop good driving habits and integrate road safety into our daily life.

Yeh said Japan has also faced the serious problem of traffic accidents in the past. In 1970, the number of road fatalities exceeded 16,000. Therefore, the Japanese government proposed a comprehensive basic law on road safety measures, so that the number of road accident deaths which had increased by ‘year by year began to decline. The key to improving road safety is raising public awareness and promoting systemic and comprehensive reforms.

Yeh proposed to draft a basic safety law which clarifies the state’s responsibility in promoting road safety, defines a national policy for road safety and introduces a parliamentary control system.

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