Traffic accidents are commonplace across Taiwan, and most residents recognize the problem of erratic driving behavior as one cause. Traffic deaths in the southern city of Kaohsiung have more than doubled from the same period last year to 64 in the first three months of 2019, and equaling almost half the total number for all of last year.
During a city government morning session DPP councillors Chien Huan Tsung (簡煥宗) and Chiu Chun-hsien (邱俊憲) noted that annual traffic deaths in Kaohsiung have fallen for the past five years from 226 to 130. They demanded Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) take action in the interest of public safety, UDN reported.
After seeing the numbers for the first time as mayor of Kaohsiung, Han Kuo-yu said that he would instruct relevant government departments to review traffic issues and submit a plan for improving the situation. He has also asked the Transportation Bureau to survey the city’s 8,000 taxi drivers and review traffic light timing.
The Transportation Bureau noted that the increase in deaths is partly related to a change in reporting. This year, the city counted deaths that occurred within 30 days of the accident rather than immediate traffic deaths.
Traffic accidents in Taiwan are highest among residents 18 to 22 years old, according to research from Tamkang University in New Taipei. The research notes, however, that deaths related to traffic accidents are most prevalent among those over the age of 65. It attributes the majority of accidents to driver errors and not paying attention to road conditions.