Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Govt plans GPS devices on buses to curb speeding

THE Government is considering getting bus companies to install Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on buses to keep tabs on speed limit offences by express bus driver.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said that from Aug 18, 2009 the buses must have the equipment before the vehicles are licensed by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Department.

The GPS mechanism would enable express bus operators to monitor the buses including speed limit offences, Ong told Datuk Johari Abdul (PKR-Sungai Petani) who asked if the ministry had a way to check speeding express buses.

Fatal accidents involving express buses totalled 661 cases from 2000 to last year, while 97 accidents were recorded involving tour buses from 2000 to last year, said Ong.

He said ensuring the safety of passengers should be the onus of the bus companies.

Ong said the Transport Ministry, together with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health have prepared a Safety, Health and Environment code to make express bus companies responsible for the safety of buses and passengers.

Johari continued pursuing the matter by citing a report he had received about a Transnasional express bus which left Sungai Petani at 12.03am and reached Kuala Lumpur at 3.45am.

“Under normal circumstances, the journey from Sungai Petani to Kuala Lumpur cannot be completed within that period (three hours and 45 minutes),” he said, adding that even if an MPV had been driven at 160kph, it would have taken about four-and-a-half hours to reach Kuala Lumpur.

Johari said that many lives could be saved if the speed of the express buses could be monitored.

In reply, Ong said: “It is not an issue of whether to install mechanisms. What is more important is the way things are monitored and handled.”

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