Members pledge to consult widely before making recommendations for road-safety changes The expert panel set up to suggest road-safety changes in the wake of the Tuen Mun bus disaster visited the scene yesterday and pledged to listen to public and professional views before filing a report. A one-month public consultation on road safety, starting next Monday, was also announced. The three-member Independent Expert Group, headed by engineer Cheng Hon-kwan, also heard a vivid account of the accident from a villager who saw the double-decker Kowloon Motor Bus vehicle plunge from Tuen Mun Road on July 10. Twenty-one people died in the accident. Dr Cheng said the panel would recommend improvements to traffic management, as well as to the design of parapets, highways and elevated roads. He said the panel would seek the views of professional bodies and academic institutions. Transport trade associations also would be consulted during a meeting planned for mid-September. 'We may also check on other areas in Hong Kong which have similar environments and precipitous places,' said Dr Cheng, who is also the chairman of the Transport Advisory Committee. He said the panel hoped to submit its report to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa in four months. However, he declined to comment on the cause of the crash, which he said was being investigated by police. It is understood that accounts from people who witnessed the incident suggested movement by panicking passengers after the bus crashed with an articulated truck may have caused it to plunge from the road. A witness reportedly told police that before the bus nose-dived about 30 metres from the flyover, passengers on the upper deck moved to the front of the bus as it hovered momentarily on the road-safety barrier. 'After the collision, they might have panicked and left their seats in an attempt to run out of the bus or go to check what had happened. Their reaction could have toppled the double-decker off the flyover,' a source said. Eight survivors - two men and six women - were still in four hospitals yesterday, including a 51-year-old man in critical condition. The source said both the bus and the truck had been travelling below the 70km/h speed limit. People living near the crash site at Ting Kau village said yesterday they were still haunted by the accident. Mrs Hui, whose house was damaged by a section of barrier that fell from the flyover, described the accident to the panel. She later said she and her family had temporarily moved in with relatives. 'I'm still very scared. Images of that day keep flashing back to my mind whenever I close my eyes,' she said. 'We saw how the bus plunged down the slope. All the victims - both alive and dead - were carried past our door. I'm also worried that such an incident could be repeated.' Legislator Miriam Lau Kin-yee, who chairs Legco's transport panel, said she would seek members' views on the need to set up an independent committee to investigate the cause of the disaster.