Bus operators told not to overtax drivers

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Dec 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: Express bus operators, with immediate effect, will have to ensure their drivers do not take on more trips than they can handle. 

The drivers are also required to have sufficient rest after a day’s work before hitting the road again. 

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said he would make a proposal at the next Cabinet meeting thatall express buses be fitted with speed-control mechanisms.  

“These are some of the measures my ministry must implement to prevent fatal road accidents such as the one at the Jalan Kuala Lipis-Merapoh road in Pahang on Sunday,” said Nazri during his ministry’s Hari Raya open house here yesterday. 

Fourteen people lost their lives in the crash, which involved two buses. 

“We will direct all express bus companies to ensure that the number of trips taken daily by their drivers does not exceed the legal stipulation and that they are able to rest for at least eight hours before they drive again the following day.  

“They must not be allowed to drive after merely resting for an hour or two,” Nazri added. 

In Putrajaya, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the ministry will conduct a comprehensive study to reduce fatal road accidents. 

He said the study would also look into limiting the working hours for commercial vehicle drivers and introducing mandatory training in commercial vehicle safety standards. 

“The Government is studying all proposals submitted, including the ones to be made at the open forum to be held soon. We are also seeking the views of those involved in the industry as well as academics. 

“The Cabinet has also directed a study on each fatal road accident during the period, including a profile of drivers, to start a database,” he said after a post-Cabinet meeting. 

Commercial vehicle drivers would be required to undergo training in areas such as defensive driving and vehicle mechanics before they were issued their licences, he said. 

“They will be reassessed, maybe after two or three years to ensure their competency,” he added. 

On limiting the working hours of commercial vehicle drivers, particularly those driving express buses, Chan said the Government had not decided on the maximum hours and there was no such limit now. 

“I had been told that some commercial vehicle drivers drive up to 18 hours during festive seasons. This is ridiculous. We must put a stop to this. 

“The lives of some 40 people can be in their hands,” he added.  

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