Monday, 25 October 2010

The October 10th Bus tragedy near the Simpang Ampat Toll; a call for an Inquest

News from Bernama via the NST on the outcome of the investigation on the Bus accident  which killed 13 people near the Alor Gajah/Simpang Ampat N-S Highway interchange:

Delima express bus in fatal crash was speeding


KUALA LUMPUR: The express bus involved in a crash that killed 13 people at 223km North-South Expressway near Simpang Ampat toll plaza was travelling at 120km per hour (km/h) after entering the expressway from Alor Gajah toll.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said this was among findings of a scientific analysis and study on the crash conducted by Malaysia Institute of Road and Safety (Miros).

He said a coordination meeting involving relevant agencies such as Road Transport Department, Computerised Vehicle Inspection System Centre (Puspakom), police and Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) had been carried out on Oct 14, following the accident.

The reports were then compiled and analysed by the Miros crash reconstruction team, he said in a statement here.
He said based on the crash impact energy analysis, the probable speed of Delima Bus, which was carrying 36 passengers, before braking was between 94 and 109km/h.

"Furthermore, another vehicle involved in this collision might have been travelling at sped of 160km/h at the time," he added.

In the 6.47pm accident on Oct 10, the Delima express bus heading to Kuala Lumpur from Melaka went out of control, flipped over to the south-bound side of the expressway and rammed into a van, two cars and another bus, leaving 13 people killed and 38 others injured.

On the condition of the express bus, Kong said periodic inspection from Puspakom showed that the bus was in good condition.

"The tyres and brakes of the express bus were in good condition prior to the crash as found by Puspakom during inspection after the collision," he said.

Kong said possible causes were sudden encroachment of other vehicles into the bus lane, critical traffic flow in front and slow respond time by the driver.

The number of casualties and injuries and the severity of the collision could be avoided if everyone followed traffic rules and practised good driving behaviour, travel within the speed limit, fasten front and rear seat belts while heavy vehicles kept to the slow lane.

"Besides strict enforcement, road engineering and vehicle safety, the road user behavior plays an important role in preventing road accidents," he said. - BERNAMA

read more here.

With due respect to the tireless investigators and workers, I think what have been done so far is not enough, besides distributing the blame to the lorry driver and other drivers involved in the accident and telling motorists to be careful on the highways, more should be done, more questions should be asked such as to whether the guard rails functioned effectively or that the guardrail design is inadequate, also new stricter legislations should be introduced:

1. To govern How long a Bus Drivers is allowed to drive continuously per day before he takes a mandatory rest.

2. All bus drivers must pass a mandatory test conducted by the JPJ which will determine also their profile and aptitude, only those certified by JPJ as Bus Drivers can drive buses. We cannot have serial speed demons driving our loved ones in buses and endangering their lives.

3. Making it mandatory for all outstation buses to Have Electro mechanical speed limiters. Modern buses are high powered monsters and in the hands of a reckless driver it is a weapon of mass destruction.

I have a suggestion, the Government should be more transparent in their investigation of the bus accident, mere technical reports are not enough and I think the best way to show transparency is for the Attorney General to call for an inquest to what caused the death of the 13 people on that fateful Sunday. 

If an inquest can be called for the death of persons in police or SPRM custody surely the death of 13 people deserved at least a public inquest where experts can be called in to explain and give recommendations to further road safety. Let us all learn from this tragedy.

What say you friends?

suggested reading here.

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