The Tra Vinh police have arrested two bus drivers for allegedly racing and hitting three motorbikes, killing four people and seriously injuring 2 others in the Mekong Delta province on May 7.
Pham Van Phuong, 38, of Thanh Thuy Company and Tran Binh Thien, 40, of Kim Hoang Company are drivers’ assistants and their companies operate on the Ho Chi Minh City – Tra Vinh route.
Colonel Le Van Viet, director of the Tra Vinh police, said preliminary investigation found that Phuong had been driving on the wrong side of the road and speeding in an attempt to overtake Thien when he hit the three motorbikes head-on.
The accident happened at around 9 AM on the Ba Si Bridge on National Highway 53.
Thien had also been speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road, apparently to prevent Phuong from going past, investigators said.
Black box data showed Phuong driving at 121 kph (75 mph) and Thien at 110 kph. The speed limits for buses are normally 40 kph in urban areas and 60 kph elsewhere.
Poor black box surveillance
Khuat Viet Hung, deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said the two drivers and their companies had violated regulations, explaining that the latter are supposed to keep an eye on their vehicles through the black box’s live stream management.
“According to a 2013 circular, all buses should have a black box with light and sound warnings in case of high speeds. Transport companies have to monitor their vehicles 24/7 via signals transmitted back to their office.
“Companies are required to warn their drivers when they speed, but they did not do so in the case of the accident in Tra Vinh.”
Hung said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has instructed relevant authorities to look into the two bus companies’ culpability.
“Basing on [the findings], relevant agencies can revoke their licenses or take other measures.”
According to Nguyen Van Quyen, deputy director of the Vietnam Road Department, most recent bus accidents have involved speeding as shown by black box data.
His agency has a center to record the data live. |
But he said it only records the data and sends it to the National Traffic Safety Committee and provincial transport departments every month.
“The number of vehicles is huge but we don’t even have an employee to detect vehicles’ violations for timely action.”
Hung said his agency has drafted a plan for installing a system that would automatically send data about violations to provincial transport agencies for timely action.