Road safety concerns have been raised following an accident in which a truck that was avoiding a collision with a speeding car broke through the safety barrier, falling 20 meters down the viaduct at Ljubljana Ring Road, killing the driver last Wednesday.
Jan Sajovic from the traffic safety department at the Slovenian Motorway Company (DARS) explained to the national broadcaster that standards have changed since the times when viaduct at Malence intersection was built. That was between the years 1996 and 1999, when the height standard for the concrete barrier was 80 -100 centimeters so the project manager decided for height of 80 cm.
Current regulations stipulate that such barriers must be able to withstand impacts from heavy duty vehicles weighing 16 tonnes, while in the last four year DARS has decided to build barriers that would withstand 38-tonne vehicles. Such a concrete barrier that was 120-130 cm high could probably block an empty tanker truck like the one that flew off the Malence viaduct on Wednesday.
Some of the old sections of the motorway concrete barriers have already been replaced with new ones, while others will be replaced in the near future. The Malence viaduct, however, is not yet among these, although it is reasonable to expect that someday its turn will come. Until then, MMC concludes, it is worth believing that speed limit of 80 km/h at the viaduct is there for a reason.
Roman Strehar, a truck driving instructor, explained that the video suggests that the truck driver did nothing wrong. After being hit by a car he might have wished to resolve the situation by turning the wheel to the right. The problem with large vehicles is that the centre of gravity is high and so is a there weight, preventing such vehicles from maneuvering or stopping in a timely fashion. Car drivers often forget that such vehicles need more space to maintain safe conditions.