Call for crackdown on overloaded trucks after deadly highway collapse in China

Mandy Zuo

Police in eastern China have taken away two trucking company managers for questioning after one of the firm’s vehicles was involved a highway flyover collapse that killed three people, including a four-year-old girl.

The child and her mother were crushed in their car as the flyover collapsed on top of them in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, on Thursday evening. A single father in another vehicle was also killed by the falling structure.

The elevated road failed under the weight of an overloaded truck, according to an initial police investigation.

The driver of the truck – owned by Wuxi Chenggong Transport – was injured in the incident and in intensive care, The Beijing News reported on Saturday. One other unidentified person was injured.

Two senior Wuxi Chenggong managers were taken away for questioning, according to business news site Jiemian.com.

The elevated highway remained closed on Saturday with an entire section missing, while the road below was cleared and reopened, according to the city’s publicity department.

Jiangsu Zhongshe Group, a Shenzhen-listed construction company, confirmed that it was the designer of the flyover and was cooperating with the authorities to investigate the cause of the failure.

“After double checks by various people and various software, we confirm that our design [of the section] met standards,” it said in a statement on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s online communication platform for investors and listed companies.

More than 80 per cent of road accidents involving freight trucks as of end of 2016 were caused by overloading or improper loading, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Guangming Daily, a publication of the Communist Party Central Committee, called for tighter monitoring of overloading and a thorough investigation into the construction of the road, which opened to traffic in 2008.

“Overloaded trucks on elevated roads are not hard to control – they can be spotted by people, let alone the wide network of surveillance cameras. The investigation should also cover whether there is negligence of duty in this regard,” it said.

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