Mirror on bus 'could have saved girl's life'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am

A mirror costing a few hundred dollars could have prevented the death of a girl dragged under a minibus on Monday, an engineering academic said yesterday. A convex mirror aimed at the side of the bus would have shown the driver the girl was not clear of the vehicle before he drove off, Lo Kok-keung said.

The six-year-old child died in front of her horrified mother and a schoolmate after her clothing was caught in the door of the minibus and she was thrown under the back wheel as the bus took off along Prince Edward Road, Kowloon City.

Mr Lo, a mechanical engineer at Polytechnic University, was speaking after a drivers' union leader said the lower part of the door was a blind spot for drivers.

'There are rear-view mirrors on both sides of the bus but they are turned to an angle to cover the back of the bus, not the flank,' Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Public and Maxicab Light Bus Merchants United Association chairman Leung Hung said.

Mr Lo said minibus owners should install a convex mirror, similar to those used in supermarkets for surveillance, to give drivers a clear view of the side of the minibus.

'With that in place, drivers can see clearly what the passengers are doing,' he said.

But the industry does not think such devices would be useful.

'In the end it's all about the driver's attitude. If he is careful enough to turn around from his seat and check if the passengers have left safely before starting off, no device would be needed, if not, any device would be fruitless,' said Lai Ming-hung, of the Taxi and Public Light Bus Concern Group.

Mr Leung, who also opposed the suggestion, admitted drivers sometimes started off too quickly after dropping passengers because they wanted to do more business.

Statistics show there were 793 accidents involving minibuses in the first nine months of last year.

The Transport Department said it was open to all suggestions and would study with the industry measures to improve safety.

Meanwhile, psychologists continued to counsel staff and pupils at the dead girl's school, including the girl who witnessed the accident.