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June 22, 2010

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Confusion lets trucks go unpunished

NOT a single construction vehicle driver or company has been punished with the loss of their transportation operating permit so far for causing fatal accidents, an official with the Shanghai Greening and Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday.

The official, Meng Shujie, said that was because most of the construction vehicles involved in accidents were illegal ones with no licenses or permits.

According to an official with the city's waste management department, a total of 2,469 transportation operating permits have been issued to qualify construction vehicles this year.

However, a proposal drafted by Tu Haiming, a city political advisory body member, showed the city had more than 8,000 construction vehicles in 2008, and the number had grown dramatically over the past year due to the World Expo.

Meng said she had no idea how many unlicensed vehicles were on the streets and she passed the responsibility of checking and punishing those vehicles to the police and the urban management department.

But police would only punish the vehicles for violating traffic laws and the urban management department didn't have the authority to issue penalties. There is no one responsible for checking construction vehicles to see if they are legal.

As a result, the city's legislative body members are calling for a special law enforcement team to be authorized with executive powers to conduct checks and issue penalties.

Member Pei Zhen said the current law enforcement system involved too many administrative departments including the police, the urban management department, traffic law enforcement teams and waste management departments, and was thus rendered ineffective.

"Each department was pushing away their due responsibilities to others," said Zhen.

Zhen believed the responsibilities of each department were too vague and this had been one of the reasons for the increase in accidents caused by construction vehicles.

He also blamed the construction vehicles' operating companies for covering the fines and compensation for drivers who caused accidents, as the companies had to cover up the fact that many drivers they had hired didn't have driving licenses.

Construction vehicles had killed three people and injured four from the beginning of this month to last Friday. From June to December last year, nearly 20 people were killed by construction trucks in the city.


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