Double-decker buses must only be handled by professional drivers. Well said!

But how do you qualify to be termed as a “professional” driver? Who or which authority is to categorise a driver as a professional?

The next question is, who pays for the professional driving course bus drivers are supposed to undertake?

Presently, most bus companies have double-decker buses in their fleet of buses. They have to continue providing services to commuters daily. If for the time being, they are not allowed to conduct trips, what is to happen to double-decker buses? Who is to bear to loss of earnings companies suffer?

Do not forget also that training will take some time. It is going to be 3 months, 6 months or maybe 9 months?

Drivers being humans are liable to commit mistakes. They for instance could still fall asleep! Even if they have undergone training. Are we so sure that the new set of drivers will not be able to fall asleep?

In short, what guarantee is there that a professional driver, who has undergone training will not cause another accident in the near future. What then?

Looking at it from all angles, everything is but a big “if”.

It looks as if the problems affecting double-decker buses is not an easy question to solve after all. At least, it is not going to be so easily solved to say the least.

I for one, wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of whosoever is in charge of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB). Are only drivers who are trained professionally to handle the buses alone in the future?

For the CVLB to take into account all these, prior to approving permits is going to be an impossible task, if not a daunting one.

Among some of the suggestions that have been put forward by many parties include:

i) Double-decker drivers should be given ample training.

ii) Express buses, including double-decker buses should be barred from traveling at night.

Regarding the tragic incident, in which 10 people where said to have died, Road Safety Department Director-General Datuk Sureet Singh, felt the decision not to suspend Sani Express permit and to allow them to continue operating was some thing “saddening”.

Furthermore, it goes to show the seriousness of the government in tackling the issue. Anyway, the authority must be given the time to come to a common agreement.

On top of that, it is hoped that the tragedy would be a lesson to all express bus drivers. It was further reported that the road tax and license of the driver in question was still valid, even after the accident happened is simply baffling.

Being involved in such a tragic accident, where 10 people lost their lives, the driver has in fact had contravened Section 41 of the Road Transport Ordinance 1978.

As such, the driver should automatically be slapped with the above summons right away and banned from driving.

Whatever the decisions of the authorities maybe, it would take some time to determine the cause of the unfortunate incident which happened recently and which took place at the North-South Expressway, 5km from the Jelepang toll plaza.

As for actions which would taken by the authorities upon the bus company and driver involved, we have to be patient and awaits its results.

In the meantime, it is urnestly hoped, all express bus drivers should drive with utmost care!

We the public and the authorities cannot afford to have another similar incident taking place again in our country.

Even before this article can be put up in this blog, the Star newspaper dated 30th December 2009 announced “Driver in the dock” will be claiming trail.

The driver of the double-decker bus, Mohd Kamal Mohd Rasyid, 37, has claimed trail for causing the death of 10 persons with “reckless” driving.

He was charged in a traffic court by judge Mohd Ruhizat Abdullah in Ipoh yesterday afternoon, that is 29th December 2009.