|The Ha Noi Transport Association (HTA) has asked the Ministry of Transport to temporarily ban production of sleeper buses until safety standards are set. — Photo www.baohaiquan.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Ha Noi Transport Association (HTA) has asked the Ministry of Transport to temporarily ban production of sleeper buses until safety standards are set. It also wants the buses to be banned on dangerous, mountain routes.
Chairman of the HTA, Bui Danh Lien, said several modifications should be made to the buses following a spate of accidents, including one recently near the northern province of Lao Cai in which 14 people were killed.
The suggested modifications include removing a middle-row of bunks and the installation of an exit door in the centre of the vehicles to make escape easier.
Lien said the ministry should encourage transport companies to convert the sleeper buses into plain vehicles - or use fewer bunks.
Commenting on a recent proposal by the Ministry of Transport to ban sleeper buses from mountain routes, Nguyen Mot, spokesman for Truong Hai Auto Corporation, said many regular buses that had been changed into sleeper buses did not meet basic safety standards.
He said increased demand for sleeper buses in recent years had made them highly profitable.
Many auto-manufacturers make them without an industry standard on bus types and sizes.
Mot said other safety factors should be considered, such as traffic and road conditions and drivers' training.
"The ban should be limited to extremely dangerous mountain routes considered unsafe for vehicles more than 12 metres long," Mot said.
Mot also suggested authorities regularly inspect vehicles and test about safety procedures and regulations.
Tran Ky Hinh, director of the motor registry office - Viet Nam Register - said there were more than 4,500 sleeper buses in the country.
"In the last two years, there have been 22 accidents involving sleeper buses, of which 19 occurred at night," Hinh said.
"Only 30 per cent of sleeper-bus accidents were on mountain routes and the rest mostly occurred on National Route 1A running through central provinces," said Hinh.
The Viet Nam Register is running a series of tests on sleeper buses to evaluate their compatibility with different types of routes. — VNS