Monday, December 28, 2009

Double decker bus drivers need additional training

IPOH: The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has urged the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to exercise caution when approving permits for double-decker buses.

Its director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah said a more capable driver was needed to drive that kind of bus.

”Double-decker buses have different requirements and only professional drivers should be allowed to handle it,” he told a press conference here Sunday.

Dr Ahmad Farhan, who was here with Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh to inspect the ill-fated Sani Express coach, added that drivers handling double-decker buses should be given ample training.

On calls that express bus be barred from travelling at night to curb such incidents, Dr Ahmad Farhan said the institute was against the idea.

”Our research shows that half of the passengers who use express bus services travel at night.”

”If the ban is enforced, passengers would have to use alternative mode of transport like motorcycle,” he said, adding that the institute did not want to take the risk as it encourages the people to use public transport.

The institute’s research also showed that passengers preferred to travel at night as they wanted to optimise their time with their family the next day, said Dr Ahmad Farhan.

”What is more important is express bus companies regulate themselves,” he said.

Suret Singh meanwhile said the department was saddened by CVLB decision not to suspend Sani Express coach’s permit.

”It is not a question of making life difficult for passengers but its to show the Government’s seriousness in tackling the issue,” he said, adding that the people would stop using public transport if it was not assuring.

He also hoped that the incident should be a lesson to all express bus drivers.

”If drivers feel sleepy, they should find a safe place to stop and rest or hand over the vehicle to a co-driver,” he said.

Road Transport Department enforcement director Salim Parlan, who was also present, confirmed that the road tax and the driving license of the express bus driver in question were still valid.

”It was also checked by my officers before it departed from Klang on Friday evening and everything was in order,” he said.

In the 1am Saturday incident, 10 people died after the bus skid and crashed into the divider of the North-South Expressway, 5km away from the Jelapang toll plaza.

No comments: