KUALA LUMPUR – “Every time I took the seven-hour bus ride to my hometown, none of the passengers are seen wearing the safety belt.”
The observation was shared by Mohd Noor Iqram Rosli, 25, a civil servant working in the capital for the past year, who commuted by bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Krai, Kelantan quite regularly.
He said although the bus had the safety belt facilities, passengers rarely seen to have taken the initiative to buckle up.
“Most new buses are equipped with safety belts, but it was not being used optimally by the passengers as there was neither reminder nor monitoring being done onboard the bus,” he told Bernama.
For Sufinah Abd Wahab, 23, who travels by bus between Melaka and Johor at least once in every fortnight, said the express bus service she used rarely had seatbelt facility.
“Every time I heard about bus accidents, I got scared, but what choice do I have?” she said.
Meantime, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (FOMCA) Deputy President Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman welcomed the proposal to enforce the use of safety belts for bus passengers.
It is to prevent passengers from being thrown out of the bus during an accident as well as to reduce the risk of death, he said.
“Fomca agrees with the proposal to compel passengers to wear seatbelts as most of them would fall asleep during the ride and would not even realise what hit them until it is too late,” he said.
Last Saturday, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang in the news analysis also suggested preventive measures such as prohibiting express buses to travel during ‘sleepy hours’ and enforcing the use of seatbelts for bus passengers.
This follows the tragedies involving public transport which often occurred during every festive season with the latest being the express bus crash a day before Christmas in which 14 people died and 16 were injured this year.
The 3.40am crash, occurred at KM137.3 North-South Highway in Kampung Jayor, Muar.
According to media report, the bus driver is believed to have lost control of the vehicle which was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Bahru, causing the bus to plunge into a 10-metre deep ravine, resulting in many passengers being thrown out of the vehicle. – BERNAMA