BEIRUT — Three students died and two others were injured late Thursday night on the Chekka-Batroun highway after a truck hit their car, the state-run National News Agency and L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the North reported.
Red Cross workers transported the victims and the injured to nearby hospitals after the Civil Defense used hydraulic equipment to extract them from the destroyed car.
Investigations are underway to find out the identity of the truck driver, who reportedly fled the scene.
The three victims were students at Balamand University in the north. The university offered its condolences to the families of the victims and said in a statement that it will keep following up on the case with the security forces.
Commenting on the fatal accident, YASA, a Lebanese road safety organization, condemned "the recurrence of road disasters resulting from the absence of rear and side light reflectors that need to be installed on trucks, according to the traffic law in force."
YASA called on caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi and Internal Security Forces director Imad Othman to take legal measures against all violating trucks in order to "avoid the recurrence of similar disasters."
The group also advised requiring trucks to install metallic shields that would reduce the risks of harm in case of collision.
Under the new traffic law adopted in 2012, Lebanon has a National Road Safety Council headed by the prime minister which is supposed to meet every three months and issue an annual report to the media on its activities.
The council’s Twitter account has posted just twice since February 2020, while its Facebook account hasn’t posted at all since March 2020.
Experts say improving traffic safety in Lebanon will require changes to infrastructure, enforcement, vehicle standards and driver education.
Lebanon is currently five years into a six-year, $200 million World Bank-funded road rehabilitation project that aims, among other goals, to reduce traffic fatalities by 15 percent on five priority road sections. Of that, $2 million is earmarked to support the Traffic Safety Committee’s secretariat.
Reporting contributed by Michel Hallak.