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article imageDutch ban electric carts after crash kills kids

By AFP     Oct 1, 2018 in Technology

The Netherlands on Monday banned a popular type of electric cart involved in a horrific crash that killed four children, saying they may suffer from problems with their brakes.

The youngsters from a daycare centre died after their Stint vehicle was hit by a train on a level crossing in the southeastern town of Oss on September 20. The driver and another child were critically injured.

Around 3,000 of the bathtub-shaped carts are in use with schools and nurseries around the country, but infrastructure minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said they would no longer be allowed on the roads as of Tuesday.

The minister had decided to suspend their use "as a precaution".

"The first preliminary results give rise to doubts about the technical construction of the Stint. This could lead to the Stint not working or no longer braking," the ministry said in a statement.

Technical changes were also made to the design of the Stints without being submitted for approval with government agencies, it said.

"The findings mentioned may pose a risk for the driver, the children and other road users".

The ministry added that it was a "far-reaching decision with many practical consequences for the day care centres", many of which rely on the vehicles to get around.

Edwin Renzen, the founder of the Renzen company that makes the Stints, said the decision was premature.

"This is based on a working hypothesis, that should not be a reason to ban all Stints on public roads immediately," he told NOS broadcaster.

Last month Renzen said that the accident was the "worst nightmare of any parent", adding that he had spent "years" developing Stints.

The company said Stints -- which feature a Segway-type standing area for the driver at the back and a large plastic box at the front where children sit -- are used to transport around 60,000 children a day.

Reports in Dutch media said the 32-year-old woman driving the wagon had screamed for help and that she had said the brakes were not working.

The cart had just dropped some children off at a local school and was on its way to another when the crash happened. Two of the dead children were from the same family.

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