Solving Problems

It’s been a few days since the Bukit Gantang Horror Crash on the North-South Expressway. The tragedy claimed 19 lives and 10 injured and by far this is the worst case involving public transport in Malaysia statistically.

My deepest condolences go out to those who lost loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Al-Fatihah

Something I noticed after this horrible horrible tragedy happened is there are boat-loads of “suggestions” on to “prevent” these sorts of events from happening in the future. Some are well thought over or has been long overdue like “special training for public transport drivers” and “refresher course” for those in the service. One that particularly caught my attention is the proposal by our Minister of Transport to include public transport passengers and commercial vehicles in MIROS’ study on rear seat-belts.

Now, I’m not saying that the aforementioned recommendations are not good nor insufficient. However, do these suggestions; if they ever get to be materialized, will solve the issues AND prevent anymore mishaps? Let me throw you another point of view in the matter of the recent tragedy.

  1. The bus, a Super Express, was registered in 1987. 20 years dude, 5 years short of my age. A bus this old shouldn’t be in service anymore. I read somewhere that the bus had failed Puspakom inspection 4 times and recently had problems with the brake system (Edit: Verified source - Utusan).“Lebih buruk lagi, bas Super Express itu yang digunakan sejak 1987 dan gagal empat kali pemeriksaan Puspakom Sdn. Bhd. baru-baru ini kerana masalah brek, disaman 19 kali oleh polis sejak 1991 selain merekodkan 79 saman dengan Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) sejak lima tahun lalu.” More…

    Trans: “Even worst, the Super Express bus, has been in service since 1987 and recently failed four Puspakom Sdn. Bhd. inspection due to brake problems, recorded 19 summons by the police since 1991 in addition to the 79 summons by Road Transport Department (RTD) in the last 5 years.NST reports that the bus had been claimed roadworthy by Puspakom in May.

  2. From NST “The driver of the ill-fated bus had two warrants of arrest issued against him and 13 outstanding summonses for various traffic offences.” Helloooooooooooooooo…anyone heard about “screening” before? Usually when such incident happens, fingers are pointed at the driver, human error. How can a driver with such offences be eligible to even DRIVE???? Did the company checked his records before assigning him a route? Or was it “over-looked”, “kira cincai“, “man-power shortage.” IMHO the system is not showing its effectiveness and not adhered to completely by the service provider. Come on laaa, common sense right? Before you let someone else drive your car you have to make sure he/she is safe. competent & LEGAL driver.

Keyword here: ENFORCEMENT. Training and retraining the drivers do have its pros but if there’s no effective enforcement then all the money spent on teaching is a waste. (I think this statement is the one that failed me the PTD interview..heh). This brings me to MY list of suggestions; since that’s the “in” thing now:

  • Mandatory scrapping of public transport over 10 years old
  • If driver gets a ticket (saman) the company he’s working for must also get one
  • Suspend license of public transport drivers who committed 3 or more traffic offences in lets say 1 year time frame….and make them do a court appeal to enable them to drive again.
  • Have the local authorities communicate with service providers with information on driver records (offences, licensing etc)
  • Local authority should have access to a realtime database of who (public transport driver) is on the road.
  • GPS locator feeding live data to a “monitoring centre” made mandatory for ALL public transport . Telematics technology that can tell speed and driving pattern, limit the travelling speed, keep safe distance when the driver try to cucuk angin etc is a value added device to the vehicle.
  • Every 2 hours have to change drivers? Install CCTV + black box and make them “punch-card” for every change laaa..
  • Driver special training? Here’s one that’s a must - Simulated crash..with the trainees in the passenger seats.
  • ..will add more if more ideas come up.

Just my 2 cents. No harm intended to the parties involved in the Bukit Gantang tragedy.

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