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12 Oktober 2010

Aku dan Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu Jugak

Blame game all over again

SEREMBAN: Twelve lives lost. And once again, the blame game has begun as people try to figure out what went wrong. Was it a killer stretch? Should buses have stronger frames? Did the driver speed? Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan observed that the roofs of buses involved in accidents would always come off or were easily damaged whenever they flipped over.

“It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to build stronger and safer buses to ensure that passengers will not suffer serious injuries if there is an accident,” he said.

He said bus manufacturers must ensure that the frames of the vehicles they build could withstand any impact from a collision. Mohamad also said that drivers of large vehicles like buses and trailers must adhere to all regulations while on the road.

“I have experienced times where express bus drivers overtook my car on the highway.

“Some of these drivers are reckless and have no concern for their safety and that of their pasengers. “They forget that a large vehicle is difficult to manoeuvre, especially when travelling at high speed,” said Mohamad, who visited some of the injured at the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital here.

“Initial reports that I received have pinpointed that the accident was due to human error,” he said.

In Tampin, PLUS Expressways Bhd said that the site of the tragedy near Simpang Ampat was not an accident-prone area. In fact, this was the first accident along the stretch this year. PLUS Expressways managing director Noorizah Abd Hamid said only one minor accident was reported along the same stretch last year.

“There were no accidents there in 2008. We have no clue on what caused the accident,” she said.

Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said there should be a joint investigation to determine the cause of the accident. Among those that should be involved were the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety, Puspakom, the police and the Road Transport Department. The mangled vehicles were taken to the Rembau district police station.

Meanwhile, Facebook users have made various suggestions on ways to penalise speedsters. Julian Ramesh said that most bus and lorry drivers got away with small fines when they were caught speeding. He urged the authorities to re-evaluate the speed limit for heavy vehicles and suggested a higher fine or even revocation of licences. Patrick Yau said bus drivers tend to speed because they wanted to make more trips to make end meets.

“Giving ‘tips’ to drivers after a successful and smooth drive could motivate the driver and help supplement his income,” Yau said.

In George Town, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said that the authorities must investigate claims by some of the passengers that the express bus had been travelling at high speed prior to the crash. CAP president S.M. Idris said talks on public road safety would be meaningless if enforcement was slack and policies on road safety were not implemented.

“What happened to speed-limiting devices on express buses; the automated enforcement system and the proper management of commercial vehicle drivers?” he asked.

Tour and express bus operators have to install a device which records the bus speed if drivers exceed 90kph, a requirement that came into force in 2001.

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