Thiruvananthapuram: While the recent two accidents involving Volvo buses in the neighbouring states claiming over 50 lives have sparked serious debates over the safety standards of buses of international repute, what add to the concerns of hundreds commuting on the comfy tourist buses in Kerala are certain minor violations that go unchecked, but may lead to major mishaps.
Even as the transport authorities claim that speed governors are being strictly enforced in the state, many passengers still prefer hi-fi multi-axle buses considering the speed factor.
“There were even instances of Volvo buses plying at a speed of 145 km per hour being caught on camera in the state,” said road safety activist Upendra Narayanan.
Many bus operators make extra money by transporting unaccompanied luggage, including even two-wheelers and gas cylinders that are highly inflammable. Volvo and other hi-fi buses offer nearly 10-cubic-metre luggage space.
All tourist buses are supposed to have at least two fire extinguishers of five kg each, hammers to break glasses and emergency exits in the event of mishap. These norms are often violated.
“A well-experienced driver will be able to take judicious steps for the safety of passengers in the event of a mishap, instead of running away from the spot,” transport department sources point out.
The condition of our roads is of prime concern, as buses like Volvo are designed to cater to roads of international standards.
There are also serious concerns over the design aspects of Volvo buses, including the position of their diesel tanks, said Narayanan who had sent a detailed note on the design flaws to the centre and other agencies concerned.