Turkey needs to introduce stricter rules for intercity buses and passengers traveling as well as improve the working conditions of drivers, an expert has said following road accidents that involved intercity buses in which nearly 30 people were killed and dozens injured in the country’s three western provinces just last week.
In the latest string of those fatal crashes, eight people died and 11 were injured in the western province of İzmir when a passenger bus veered off an embankment and plunged to the ground in the Kemalpaşa district on Aug. 8.
This was the second major accident that occurred on the same day. In the early hours on Aug. 8, a passenger bus overturned in the western province of Balıkesir after losing control, leaving at least 15 people dead and 17 others injured.
Earlier last week, in Muğla, another western province, six were killed while 42 people were hospitalized when an intercity bus and a truck collided in the Soma district.
“Those accidents occur because of the combination of two main factors: Old model buses are on the roads and bus drivers are tired and suffer from sleep deprivation,” said Alpay Lök, a mechanical engineer and a member of the Turkey Traffic Accidents Prevention Association.
Authorities need to immediately impose a rule that only 2016 or younger model buses equipped with the advanced emergency braking system (AEBS) can make long-distance night trips, he proposed.
Lök also said that wearing wear seatbelts for passengers traveling in intercity buses should be made mandatory.
“Moreover, working conditions of bus drivers should be improved. In long-distance routes, three drivers of a bus cover non-stop 50,000 kilometers. They sleep inside bus trunks. Drivers do not get proper rest. Our bus drivers are always tired and never get enough sleep,” he added.
Hurriyet Daily News