The “Recommendations”

 

(All is OK in Bolehland. Photo source: http://www.surfperch.com)

Alright, as expected, the list of recommendations and strong words like “no more waiver”, “enough is enough”, “the cabinet is very upset” and many more (just fill in the blanks) have started to fly in the mainstream media for couple of days now. The Cabinet has decided on the final list, so it seems – from theStar:-

CEOs of bus firms to be accountable for safety

PUTRAJAYA: Chief executive officers of bus companies will be held accountable for safety standards, hiring and training of drivers and fleet management, under measures approved by the Cabinet, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy.

Ok, let have a look at the “proposed” recommendations, shall we?

1. CEOs of bus firms to be accountable for safety

2. Adopting and strictly adhering to the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Code currently used by multinational oil and gas companies.

3. Grounding of the entire fleet of buses and suspending all permits given to a bus company even if one of its buses is involved in a serious accident.

4. Additional and stronger rail guards to be placed at all accident-prone roads throughout the country.

5. With immediate effect, the roof structure of all new buses must comply with the Economic Commission for Europe standard (R66 ECE), to deal with accidents involving rollover of vehicle.

6. Suspension of permit for a month if a commercial vehicle fails Puspakom tests thrice in a row.

7. With immediate effect, all commercial vehicle drivers must attend a refresher course on driving.

All looks good on “paper” but let’s revisit them again:-

1. CEOs of bus firms to be accountable for safety

But what if, the CEO is some “Datuk” who is also a member of “known” political party or with a strong political connection? Will the CEO still be accountable for the safety or some low line manager will be fault guilty? We have a lot of offences where the CEO can be made liable but over the years just how many of them have been liable? This could be a start but whether the Government will be going for the top guns is yet to be seen. Their record in corruption fighting and going against the “big fish” stinks.

2. Adopting and strictly adhering to the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Code currently used by multinational oil and gas companies

This sounds great since some of the drivers for the oil and gas companies maintain very high quality when it comes to training, driving skills and other procedures but here is the catch – how the government is going to monitor the adherence? By getting the bus operators to submit report or by getting the enforcement agents to hid in the bush and do an ambush? Even at the present rate, enforcement has not been that great and what more with new things being introduced – will there be any difference?

3. Grounding of the entire fleet of buses and suspending all permits given to a bus company even if one of its buses is involved in a serious accident.

This is a good one but very unpractical – say a bus company has 200 buses, fully utilised and it is holiday season. One bus involved in a major accident. Do you seriously think that the whole 199 buses will be grounded? Do you think that at that point, the government will close one eye perhaps in the name of “public convenience”? Remember the incident where there was a landslide along the highway sometime ago – the Government did not close the section of the highway even though there was a great danger.

4. Additional and stronger rail guards to be placed at all accident-prone roads throughout the country.

We can put in the stronger rail guard which will deflect the buses from going into the ravine but at what cost? If the contract is made properly and with open tenders, then it is fine but that is not the point. Cost is another factor but there is always the public fund that someone can dip their hands into, so why worry. Will an increase in toll charges (due to the high cost) be following soon?

5. With immediate effect, the roof structure of all new buses must comply with the Economic Commission for Europe standard (R66 ECE), to deal with accidents involving rollover of vehicle.

Good news for people taking the new buses but out there, how many of the buses considered new? Will the government ask these bus operators to “bring in” those buses for structure improvement? Or they will say “we start from today onwards only”? By the way, R66 ECE came in force in Europe in 2001/2002 – so did we been closing one eye all this while and started late?

6. Suspension of permit for a month if a commercial vehicle fails Puspakom tests thrice in a row.

Can anyone tell how many buses have failed Puspakom test 3 times in the past before this idea came up? Are these buses still plying the highway? In the one month, what are the steps that enforcement agencies and Puspakom is going to make sure that the commercial vehicle passes the test? This is yet to be seen because it all boils down to enforcement.

7. With immediate effect, all commercial vehicle drivers must attend a refresher course on driving.

We heard this before many times – the question is when they going to start it. Even a well trained driver can make mistake if he is too tired to drive or the road condition is bad. Training may help but there must be some kind of checking to monitor the learning progress as well.

Well, recommendations been spread out – it does not take a brainer to think all this. Will the enforcement of the recommendations will be aggressive as recommending process?

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