Weight rule 'needs better enforcement'

Weight rule 'needs better enforcement'

No tolerance for graft, Suriya says

A 10-wheel truck heavily laden with dirt is lodged in a collapsed section of Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok on Wednesday last week. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A 10-wheel truck heavily laden with dirt is lodged in a collapsed section of Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok on Wednesday last week. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Transport Ministry has ordered all relevant agencies to cooperate with the police to assist its crackdown on overloaded trucks, after concrete slabs on a major road in Bangkok caved in last week.

The agencies in question are the Department of Rural Roads (DRR), the Department of Highways (DH), the Department of Land Transport (DLT) and the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat).

The order came after Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit vowed to crack down on graft in departments under the ministry's supervision.

He was referring to reports about stickers placed on the windscreen of overloaded trucks and lorries, which indicate bribes were paid to ensure they can ply roads while carrying more weight than legally permitted.

Last week, an overloaded truck caused a road in Bangkok's Phra Khanong district to collapse. The truck was travelling on Sukhumvit Road near Soi Sukhumvit 64/1 when it broke a concrete slab placed over the opening of an underground cable trench dug by the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, causing the road to cave in and injuring two motorists.

When authorities weighed the truck and its cargo, they found the truck was carrying 37.45 tonnes of soil dug from a nearby construction site. The legal limit is 25 tonnes.

The discovery of the stickers led to suspicions that bribes had been paid to allow the truck to pass unimpeded, though the company which owns the truck claimed the stickers belonged to the company.

The DH, DRR and Exat must work more proactively with the police and carry out more frequent checks of freight trucks, the minister said, adding the weight limit must be strictly enforced to prevent corruption and road damage.

Overweight trucks are known to have caused the premature deterioration of road surfaces, creating safety hazards for motorists and forcing the government to fork out more cash to fund road repairs.

All agencies concerned must work more closely with the Central Investigation Bureau to crack down on overweight trucks, many of which try to avoid the authorities by using secondary or feeder roads with no weighing stations or roadside checkpoints.

The minister said new technology will be introduced to track the location of overweight trucks accurately.

In the previous fiscal year, 3,416 freight vehicles nationwide were stopped at weighing stations and roadside checkpoints for carrying more weight than was legally allowed, according to DH figures.

Since the start of October, 394 vehicles have been caught exceeding the weight limit nationwide.

The information, meanwhile, will be passed onto the DLT, which will, in turn, issue a notice for owners to bring such vehicles in for inspection. If the vehicles are found to have been modified to increase haulage capacity without permission, the owners will face swift legal action, Mr Suriya said.

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