Thursday, April 16, 2009

Central system on bus drivers’ history needed

PETALING JAYA: Bus operators have asked for an easier way to check the background of drivers and suggested a centralised system to check for summonses issued to reckless drivers.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said a real-time central database should be set up quickly to allow the operators to see their drivers and potential employees’ summons history.

“Now, the summonses from the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) and police are put into separate systems,” he told The Star yesterday.

Because of the lack of update on the database, bus operators found it difficult to trace the summonses issued to errant drivers.

“How would I know when a driver has committed a traffic offence?” he said, adding that the police had even sent notices to some operators and asked for the records of their drivers for the past five years.

“I have told the Government about this many times through press statements and meetings but no one seems to be listening,” he said. Summons records of individual drivers were often “wiped out” as soon as the summonses were paid.

Ashfar also urged the CVLB to blacklist errant drivers and not the vehicles owned by the bus operators.

“They blacklist the vehicles and not the drivers. This prevents the companies from renewing road tax while the drivers get off scot-free,” he said.

JPJ director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan, however, said that the issue was the behaviour of the drivers and whether they had outstanding summonses, not how many summonses they had.

“It’s totally up to the bus operators whether to employ them or not.

“Bus operators must check their drivers’ background and past experiences before hiring. If they want a summons history, all they have to do is check with the JPJ,” he said.

Solah agreed with CVLB director Datuk Markiman Kobiran’s suggestion that bus operators check the background of their drivers to prevent tragedies like Monday’s crash on the North-South Expressway which left six people dead.

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