Seoul to strengthen pedestrian guardrails following deadly car crash

This picture shows a pedestrain guardrail dividing a pedestrain sidewalk and road in Seoul, July 3. Yonhap

The Seoul city government said Wednesday it will significantly beef up the strength of pedestrian guardrails and take other safety measures after a deadly car crash that left nine people dead earlier this week.

On Monday night, a sedan driven by a 68-year-old darted in the wrong direction for some 200 meters on a one-way road near Seoul City Hall before crashing into sidewalk guardrails, striking pedestrians and ramming into two other cars.

“We began to review measures to improve the protective fencing for pedestrians,” a city official said. “We will make improvements in a direction that protects pedestrians by making fences stronger and beefing up safety.”

The guardrail lined up along the sidewalk was of no use in protecting people, with most of the iron guardrails seen bent in pieces after the crash.

A city official said the safety fences were set up to separate the sidewalk from the road and to prevent passersby from crossing over to the road and were not designed to withstand a vehicle dashing at such high speed.

Experts agree that the safety fences need improvement, but are skeptical it can act as a fundamental solution to the problem.

“Even if the safety factor is strengthened (for the guardrail), it will be difficult to protect pedestrians from a vehicle that barrels into 추천 them at such immense speed,” said Kim Pil-soo, professor at the division of automotive engineering at Daelim University College.

The city government also plans to begin talks with the National Police Agency to discuss ways to strengthen the driving suitability test for senior citizens aged 65 or older, and encourage them to voluntarily give up driver’s licenses.

The number of traffic accidents caused by seniors aged 65 or older has increased for three years straight, recording 39,614 cases last year, the highest since record-keeping began.

Local governments provide cash worth 100,000 won ($72) to 300,000 won as incentives to seniors who voluntarily give up their driver’s licenses, but participation remains low at about 2 percent each year

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