Taipei, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council (ASC), an independent government agency responsible for aviation accident investigation, will be mandated to also investigate railway, road and marine accidents with effect from 2019, its chairman Young Hong-tsu (???) said Wednesday.
Speaking at a legislative session, Young said that while 45 percent of the accident fatalities in Taiwan each year are traffic-related, only aviation accidents are investigated by an independent authority, while the others are left to prosecutors and the transportation ministry.
Starting in 2019, however, the ASC will be expanded to take over the investigation of marine accidents and fatal railway and road accidents, he said.
The ASC will step in if there is a road or railway accident with more than 15 fatalities or a marine accident in which ships are damaged, whether or not there are fatalities, Young said.
"In the initial stages, we will seek help from foreign agencies that handle road, railway and marine accident investigations," he said.
A detailed plan for the expansion of the ASC has already been submitted to the Cabinet and includes a proposal to increase the staff from 23 to about 100, Young said.
The expansion of the ASC is being carried out on a directive issued by Premier Lai Ching-te (???) in the wake of a deadly train crash last month that left 18 people dead and 200 injured.
The involvement of the managing agency, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), in the accident investigation raised concerns over impartiality and prompted the proposal for an independent authority to be authorized to investigate of all kinds of traffic accidents.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel