KUALA LUMPUR: A proposal to set up a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as an independent advisor to agencies under the Transport Ministry is being considered after flaws were identified in their handling of the Genting bus crash investigation last August.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the body would be an expansion of the six-member Independent Advisory Panel, which evaluated the reports made by agencies like the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
He also said that a few proposals, from the 51 recommended by the panel, covered vehicle inspections, safe operations and emergency practices.
Among the recommendations were to re-look at the approval criteria for vehicle tests by Puspakom, which the panel found were lax and the weaknesses in SPAD’s procedure in giving operating licenses for public vehicles.
Currently it does not account for specific standards like the environment around hilly roads and the standing capacity for city buses.
He added that the panel also highlighted a failure in communication between SPAD, JPJ, the po-lice and the Public Works Department.
On the NTSB, he said it was important to institutionalise them in the ministry and approval would be sought from the Cabinet.
“The board will offer suggestions to improve the ministry’s handling of issues related to road, land or sea safety.
“It will also coordinate the roles of the different agencies and ensure there is no overlap of jurisdiction,” Hishamuddin told reporters this yesterday after receiving the report on the Genting bus crash from the panel.
The Genting bus crash on Aug 21 last year, is considered the deadliest road accident in the country, killing 37 people and injuring 16.
Survivors of the accident said the bus driver was negotiating a bend when he lost control and plunged down a ravine at KM3.6 of Jalan Genting.
The bus driver was reported to have had 16 traffic summonses, most of which were for speeding while some crash survivors claimed he was driving recklessly and others alleged he refused to let passengers out despite conceding that the brakes were faulty.
Miros determined that speed was the main factor of the accident
Inefficient brakes and poor road infrastructure also played a role.
Panel chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the recommendations put forward were not only confined to the Genting bus crash case but could be applicable to other hill roads and identified “black spots” in the country.