Cameras urged after man killed by reversing truck

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am

Goods vehicle safety in spotlight again after pensioner's death

The death of a man yesterday under the wheels of a reversing truck sparked fresh calls from lawmakers for camera monitors to be compulsory on the rear of all goods vehicles.

Cheng Yam, 76, was run over and killed by a reversing truck outside a secondary school in a cul-de-sac in San Po Kong.

Public concern about truck safety has risen since the deaths of five people - including an 11-month-old and her father - in four accidents involving reversing trucks since 2006.

Cheng's death was one of two road accidents involving reversing goods vehicles yesterday.

Police said initial investigations into the San Po Kong accident showed the 29-year-old driver had been unaware he had hit the elderly pedestrian until a passer-by shouted at him.

Police arrested the truck driver for dangerous driving causing death and released him on bail of HK$3,000. He is required to report back to police on September 19.

The truck was reversing from the entrance of Yuk Kwan Street outside Ng Wah Catholic Secondary School when the accident happened at about 7.45am.

The victim, who was less than a metre from the kerb when he was hit, was knocked down and run over by the truck's right rear wheel, a police investigator said.

'Preliminary investigation showed that the driver was unaware of hitting the pedestrian at the beginning and he did not brake until a nearby motorist shouted at him,' the officer said.

'The victim was run over by the truck again when the driver drove forward for about 10 metres and pulled over, and then he got out to check.'

Cheng was declared dead at the scene by an ambulance crew.

Police said initial investigation showed the truck's audible reverse warning worked, although the driver had not got his colleague to help him check behind while the truck was reversing.

'I take this opportunity to appeal to [truck] drivers,' acting Superintendent Ho Chak-kun, of the Kowloon East traffic unit, said. 'When they are reversing their vehicles, and no matter how long it is, it is better to get someone to check at the back of their vehicles.' Anyone with information about the accident can contact police on 2305 7500 or 2305 7570.

In the other incident, at about 4pm, Chan Lam, 82, suffered head injuries when a delivery van reversed into him in Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok. He was in stable condition in Kwong Wah Hospital last night. No one was arrested.

The chairman of the Legislative Council's transport panel, Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, said he had submitted a bill nine months ago to make rear surveillance cameras on trucks mandatory, but there had been no response from the government. 'It shows that a slow reaction from the government has again cost a life,' Mr Cheng said.

Medium and heavy trucks concern group chairman Lai Kim-tak said nearly 70 per cent of trucks were equipped with surveillance cameras but he strongly recommended all trucks be fitted with them, given that they cost only about HK$1,200.

A spokesman for the Transport Department said it had started work on legislation to ensure that rear cameras were fitted on trucks. But he said it had to be studied carefully because no other countries had such legislation and international standards on the devices were not available.