It would appear that the City driver didn’t realise SmartTag lane was closed until it was too late.
A Honda City was left in a crumpled state recently after the driver careened into what appeared to be a closed SmartTag lane. Occurring at the Setia Alam Toll Plaza on the NKVE this afternoon (8th June), further details regarding the accident remain thin on the ground at time of writing.
Looking at the pictures of this unfortunate incident however, the City looks to have been travelling at a somewhat high rate of speed when the collision occurred. That is because the whole front of the Honda is virtually unrecognisable, with all that’s left being a mound of mangled metal that has ratter horrifyingly been pushed back into the passenger cell.
Speaking of the passenger cell, there are photos (that are too gory to post here) which sees the dashboard folded in on the driver of the Honda. Fortunately however, paramedics eventually did manage to extricate the driver from the crumpled City, though there is no word yet on whether the victim survived this horrific accident.
As for how this horrific accident happened meanwhile, the most plausible cause of the crash from piecing the pictures of the aftermath together is that the driver of the City did not notice the SmartTag lane was closed until it was too late. At that instant then, the driver presumably tried to swerve to the adjacent Touch ’n Go lane to the left, though this unfortunately resulted in the Honda colliding head on with the concrete toll booth barrier dividing both lanes instead.
This initial collision hence sent the speeding City ricocheting from the left divider into the concrete barrier on the right side, thus causing the damage observed to the driver’s side of the sedan, before eventually lodging itself against the yellow pole that indicated the closed toll lane. The pole was bent somewhat for good measure too, which just serves as further evidence that the Honda was still travelling quite fast when the initial impact occurred.
Now there are many out there who are currently pinning the blame on the driver for driving too fast while approaching the toll booth, though blaming it all on the driver doesn’t really seem fair in this case. That is because while all drivers should know better than to barrel into an oncoming toll booth, there is however a not-insignificant amount of blame to be placed on the rather poor toll booth design too.
First and foremost, this accident here raises the rather salient point of who thought that a solid concrete barrier at the toll plaza was a great idea? Particularly right at the entrance of the toll, which is the point that cars are most likely to hit.
Why is there also no crash protection structures like on the highways on these toll plazas, that deform when collided into? Instead there are just lumps of steel and concrete that aren’t readily deformable, and can easily turn a car into a mangled mess like what happened here.
Focusing next on the indication of a closed toll gate, it is somewhat incredulous too that all that is indicating a closed lane is a thin yellow pole with a red stop sign affixed to it. Granted there is also a red light atop the roof that indicates the lane closure, but that could easily be missed on a bright sunny day like when this accident took place.
Considering therefore that we Malaysians will be continuing to pay for tolls well into the foreseeable future, it should be somewhat justified to ask for a safer plaza design just in case accidents like these occur again. And while we’re asking for things that most likely will never be rectified, can we also get an improved SmartTag system that doesn’t require drivers to drive right up to the barrier before it works, as well as an RFID system that actually works at all?