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November 27, 2009

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Cops to corral speeding dump trucks

CITY traffic police will launch a major campaign against speeding construction trucks after at least nine people were killed by the vehicles in the past week.

The latest victim was a motorcyclist who was crushed beneath a cement mixer around 8am yesterday on Xuhui District's Longhua Road.

Police sent out patrols last night to conduct an initial investigation in preparation for the major campaign to come. In next week's effort, officers will check truck licenses and loads on the major routes the construction trucks use.

"It's really a headache," said Yang Jun, an officer with Jiading District traffic police. "The trucks are bigger, heavier and thus harder to control."

Concerns over the speeding behemoths have risen as construction projects have picked up pace in preparation for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

The death was the second on the same road in the past two weeks.

A moped rider was killed last Friday by a truck carrying earth from a construction site.

Last Tuesday, a truck driver surnamed Cai, was detained for hit-and-run in connection with the death of a 70-year-old woman.

"It seems to me these truck drivers are fearless," said a bicyclist.

But for the drivers, speed is the key to a better pay packet. The more they carry in a day the more they earn, which often leads to excessive speeds and overloading, officers said.

"More often than not, they drive recklessly," Yang said.

Police even found some drivers dumping their waste loads along city streets, cutting short their routes to earn more money.

Traffic authorities said safety education for the drivers is lax and called for a joint effort involving the construction industry commission.

With a rule regulating the management of construction vehicles still on the drawing board, some district governments, joined by traffic police, have already geared up to combat the problem.

Authorities in the Pudong New Area have put GPS systems on construction trucks to track their routes and speeds. An additional 200 surveillance cameras have also been set up.

In Luwan District, traffic police helped to design the routes that drivers must follow or be subject to fines.


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