Over speeding and driver fatigue were some of the common reasons behind spurt in bus accident recorded recently.

Concerned with rising cases of bus accidents across the country government authorities may soon finalise rules making it mandatory for long distance buses to install devices similar to black boxes seen on airplanes.

These inter-city buses could then be monitored in real time relaying vital feedback to the control room including location of the bus, speed of the vehicle and driving habits of the driver among several other details.

Over-speeding and driver fatigue were some of the common reasons behind spurt in bus accident recorded recently. Most of these buses were run on inter state routes and were of Volvo origin, which is also the most preferred bus brand in India.

For instance at least 45 people were burnt to death in October last year when a Hyderabad-bound Volvo bus they were travelling in ruptured its fuel tank before bursting into flames. The driver of the ill-fated bus, who escaped with superficial injuries, was allegedly overspreading.

Anders Grundstromer, managing director, Scania CV India said, “We have had meetings with the transport ministry of India with regards to introduction more safety features in the bus. I sincerely hope that the government makes it mandatory to have the black box type device installed in buses. The advanced bus code should have these issues addressed.”

The new bus code which is expected to be launched and implemented soon will usher in several stringent measures for bus makers and to bus body builders. New rules with regards to safety and improvement in re-evaluation standards of existing vehicles are the main issues that would be addressed in the new code.

Though many auto makers develop and sell fully built buses in drive-away condition they also sell only chassis on which customers develop bodies of their choice with the assistance from authorized or unauthorized body builders. In many instances the body does not meet the regulatory norms.

Swedish commercial vehicle maker Scania, which is controlled by German auto giant Volkswagen, is offering the Communicator 200 (a type of black box) as an option on its buses. Among other features, an in-built system will check if the eyes of the driver are open and also alert the driver if the bus is veering away from the designated driving lane. Also an onboard anti-collision device will help avoid head on accidents.

Though a black box on buses was made mandatory in Europe in 2010 India is yet to adopt any such regulation. This is despite the country recording the world’s highest rate of road related fatalities.

Scania today flagged off the Metrolink Service in association with Siddhi Vinayak Logistics between Mumbai and Surat. These luxury buses bought at a cost of Rs 2.55 crore each, will be eventually extended to other routes including Mumbai-Pune, Surat-Pune, Jaipur-Delhi, Mumbai-Bangalore to name a few.

These services however wont be cheap. A Mumbai-Surat trip in an air-conditioned coach will cost around Rs 900, however, the same trip in a Metrolink Service could cost upto Rs 2,500 during peak seasons.

Source: Business Standard