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Water barrels save at least three drivers
Update: 9/9/2007 2:38:00 AM Source: Wentrip

WATER barrels set up along entrances and exits to elevated roads in the city have prevented at least three drivers from being killed or seriously injured over the past month, traffic police said yesterday.

With the number of accidents on the rise along the city's increasingly busy elevated roads, police suggested road management companies install more water barrels, at a cost of 500,000 yuan (US$66,000).

The design of the barrels was also improved over previous models to better protect drivers in the event of a crash, according to Liu Xianhua, director of the city's elevated road traffic police.

"Speed on the overheads is always fast especially during night hours when the traffic is not busy. We have seen many examples of drivers turning late at an off-ramp and crashing their cars. Those types of crashes can be very serious, " Liu explained.

At least three cars have crashed into the barrels since they were installed in late June, according to police.

The first crash saw a 50-year-old man slam into the entry ramp of the Gonghexin Road Overpass, part of the North-South Elevated Road.

"All the water barrels were smashed into pieces during the collision. You can imagine what would have happened to the driver without the life-saving water barrels," said Liu.

The two other crashes happened along the Inner Ring Road. In both cases, the drivers had fled the scene before police arrived.

Drivers are expected to stay on the scene of a crash until police arrive and pay for damage to the barrels, which cost about 1,000 yuan. When drivers flee the scene, the overhead administration company has to pay to replace the damaged barrels.

"We could only persuade the company management that they are paying to save lives," said Liu.

Twelve people were killed in 10 fatal traffic accidents on elevated roads in the first seven months this year. Seven of the accidents were blamed on drunk driving, leading to 10 deaths.

Editor: canton my

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