Hong Kong’s latest deadly road accident should be a wake-up call on both driver hours and seat belt use
I am writing in response to the article about the coach accident that took place last week. (“Coach driver in crash that left five dead and 32 injured had been working 12-hour shifts, Hong Kong police say,” November 30). The serious number of deaths and injuries once again drew attention to road safety.
The long working hours of the coach driver was one of the factors that could have contributed to the accident. It became apparent that bus drivers in our city are overworked after a Citybus swerved onto a pavement in Sham Shui Po, leaving three dead and injuring 33 people in September. At the time, it was revealed that nearly one-fifth of the drivers at the city’s two major bus companies work at least 12 hours a day. The double-decker crash in Tai Po in February that claimed 19 lives should have been our wake-up call.
The bus driver involved in last week’s accident had driven from 7pm to 7am since his last rest day on November 27. Is it any wonder that the driver was very tired and did not drive well?
On the other hand, this accident highlights the importance of passengers fastening their seat belts to prevent serious injury. Unfortunately, most people in Hong Kong do not like to wear seat belts. This was the probably why some people were thrown out off the bus when it rammed into a taxi that had stopped on the highway.
To conclude, the government should revise the laws to better regulate the working hours of bus drivers to ensure that they have enough time to rest. Also, the government could launch training programmes for drivers to enhance their knowledge of road safety and of how to handle unexpected problems. Moreover, the government should educate the public on the importance of fastening their seat belts when travelling by car or bus. These measures may prevent a repeat of such severe accidents.
Kathy Lai, Kwai Chung