Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tragic Accidents Involving Express Buses.

The newest accident killed 12 people and injured several. Almost every month we hear about such accident involving express buses with deaths reaching up to twenty or more. The authorities have been busy experimenting on all sorts of methods to prevent such accidents like enforcing a compulsory rest period for drivers, putting an officer incognito on the bus to ensure that there is no overspeeding, doing a more thorogh check on the background of drivers etc. But the accidents keep happening, reaching more macabre proportion.

If tightening the qualification, experience and good character requirement for EXB drivers would only cause a shortage of drivers, and reducing the maximum speed limit can cause longer traveling hours, delays and more expenses for the Company providing the services, what other steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of EXB being involved in accidents? As it is companies are
overwhelmed with the problem of driver shortage and rising costs of operation.

I wonder if we have ever thought of giving the EXB drivers more prestige and perquisites aside from ensuring a mandatory period of rest. What prestige? No, don't talk about giving them smart uniforms with a cap and requiring them to wear a tie. That's making life more miserable for them. It's more like providing them with a special place of rest at convenient intervals in a journey,
serving them good food and warm drinks. Maybe even allow them to take a short nap while the passengers stop to eat and drink.
A safe-trip allowance can also be thrown in, which can be accumulated over a month. Buses breaking down should not be blamed on the drivers unless there are complaints against them for bad driving.

Will all those ensure that EXB drivers drive safely with maximum concern for the safety of the passengers? Maybe not. They will only be very concerned with safety if someone they love is also on the bus. If that is so how about allowing EXB drivers to have a few seats on each trip reserved for their family members, close relatives or good friends. Maybe just two seats would do it.
The drivers can bring along whoever they want so long as they are close family members or intimate friends. With such people in the bus they will certainly not take any chances on their safety or life. Those people will also surely talk to the driver if his or driving is causing them some concern. Friendly persuasion is certainly better than a scolding or an angry exchange of words which can make an EXB driver more irritable.

Well, a solution has to be worked out before more people are killed on the Express Bus. The solutin must come quickly fro the EB seems more popular now inspite of the tragedies that g=had taken place.


abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
Express buses are breaking the speed limit and that is public knowledge. A speeding express bus is just like a time-bomb, just waiting to explode. Apart from what you have suggested which I think should be considered seriously by the authorities, but as a quick fix measure, all express buses must have an automatic speed limit control, whereby the bus can only go up to a certain speed and no more. This is possible if there there is a mandatory law in place and enforced to the hilt.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
An elder once advised, 'Don't speed. If an accident occurs you'll not die'. It is simple logic. 'Speeding' as Akhi Halim said is the culprit. You control 'acts of speeding', then you'll control mayhems of death. It is 80/20 again. Solve speeding then 80% of the problems are solved.
In the US it is 50mph limit on non-highways. I had the experience once in Florida of driving and overtaking as we do here - exceeding the 50mph limit.In no time I realised a car behind was flashing its lights. It was a police-car and we both stopped by the road side. The cop then issued me a ticket, That's it! You go against the rules you'll face up to it. Very strict and somewhat clock-work.I cannot say the same here.It is blatant disregard for simple traffic rules and the law enforcement is 'lenient'.

norzah said...

There is no doubt that speeding is the cause of many accidents, Akhi Halim, and the government had done almost everything possible to curb speeding. Our highways have numerous warning signs reminding us of the speed limit, 90 km/j in Selangor and 110km/j in N9. In some places we see the limit dropping to 60 and even 40, the top speed of a bicycle.

But enforcement is so inadequate and even unjust. The summon ekor is hated by everyone nor does it serve the purpose of making a driver ashamed of breaking the law.
You get a ticket you pay and that's the end of the story. It's different if a traffic officer catches u speeding, gives u a scolding and let you go , red in the face with shame. But if u can slip a fifty or RM100 note into his hand and go scott free without even a warning, who's afraid of speeding.

As for the express bus the situation is worst. Companies belong to VIPs with strong cable to Bukit Aman. A driver can also be fined for speeding but u can't dismiss him. Who is going to drive the bus? Hence my suggestion that someone close to the driver be given a free seat on the bus. The driver certainly doesn't want him or her to get hurt or killed, especially if he or shenis a relative.

norzah said...

Akhi Kaykuala,
We are all agreed that speed is the main cause of many bad accidents and that the authorities had never been able to curb speeding. No does a fine mean anything to tjose who can afford to pay to use the highway as a racing track.
Even if there is no corruption, paying for an offence of traffic violation would not ensure that drivers will abide by the law. In this regard some speed limits set by the authorities are rediculous. Imagine being forced to drive at 90 kmsj on a good modern road, and the speed limit refuced to 60 or even 40 at some places. We might as well go back to the use of bicycles.

I think any attempt to stop a powerful bus from going beyond a certain speed limit, say 80 or 90 ksj will be just a waste of time and money. Any mechanism to do so can be tempered with. If the police cannot cope with the work of controlling traffic even with the current laws, introducing new ones would not have any impact. We just got to find a new way to make bus drivers undesirous of speeding.

陳雲惠 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

norzah said...

Thank you,toche, kamsia, xie xie.