Turkey, bus accident in Balıkesir

Experts call for measures to avoid bus accidents

In the last week, almost 30 passengers have died in bus accidents in Turkey. The causes: old buses, and tired drivers.

Road safety experts believe that Turkey should introduce new and tougher measures to prevent bus accidents, especially on long journeys between provinces, after nearly 30 people have been killed in several accidents involving buses in the last week alone.

On August 8, in İzmir province, 8 people were killed and 11 more injured when a minibus ran off the road and fell down an embankment while driving through the vicinity of Kemalpaşa municipality, crashing into some trees that halted its fall. Just hours earlier, another bus ran off the road after losing control and overturned in Balıkesir province, killing 15 passengers and injuring 17 others.

Days before, on the weekend, a bus from Istanbul was involved in a terrible traffic accident when it crashed into a truck parked on the road in the town of Soma, in the west of the country, leaving 6 dead and 42 injured, several of them in critical condition. The collision literally ripped off the front and the entire right side of the bus.

Old buses and tired drivers: the keys to accidents

“These accidents occur due to the combination of two major factors: old buses that circulate on the roads, and tired drivers whosuffer from sleep deprivation (due to excessive working hours)”, explains Alpay Lök, mechanical engineer and member of the Turkish Traffic Accident Prevention Association.

In Lök’s opinion, the authorities should decree as soon as possible that only buses manufactured after 2016 that have an advanced emergency braking system (AEBS) can make long trips between provinces, or make night trips. In addition, the use of seat belts by passengers traveling on long bus routes should be mandatory.

“In addition to this, the working conditions of bus drivers must be improved. On long-distance trips, three drivers cover thousands of kilometres without stops, they sleep inside the bus, and the drivers do not rest well. Our bus drivers are always tired, and they never get enough sleep”, which according to this expert inevitably ends up causing accidents.