The bus driver initially claimed that the accident occurred due to brake failure, a joint investigation points to another side.
A joint investigation conducted by the police and Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) confirmed that the accident didn’t happen because of the brake failure.
The joint investigation team said that they took the bus to the workshop in coordination with the RSTA’s motor vehicle inspector (MVI) to check whether there were some technical problems.
However, the joined investigating team noted that the bus had a gear positioning issue. “We wonder if the accident happened as he missed the right gear position,” said the investigating team.
The bus driver of Tarayang Trasport Service, a local public bus plying from Serzhong to Mongar is charged to the court by the investigating team.
The Regional Transport Officer (RTO) said that the bus was technically fit when checked a day before departing from Mongar to Serzhong. “Since there’s no RSTA office in Serzhong. The local bus is inspected once a day before it returns to Serzhong in the afternoon,” said the RTO.
Normally, as per RSTA’s rule, public transport buses are mandated to conduct a pre-departure inspection (PDI) and post-arrival inspection (PAI). The public transport service also needs to provide the details of the passenger with their identity card number and phone number so as to make the tracing easier in case of any issue during the journey.
“RSTA inspects all the public transport vehicles thirty minutes on the scheduled time before allowing them to head for their destination,” said the RTO.
Also, once the public transport service providers sign an agreement with the RSTA they can’t leave without RSTA’s notice.
The bus met with an accident at 7:35 am on August 3 between Yadi and Serzhong on reaching Radi Gyamnang under Ngatshang gewog.
There were 23 people on the board including the bus driver and two children.
When the investigating team conducted a drug and alcohol test on the driver, the result showed negative.
Moreover, it was found that the driver is well experienced unlike the public speculating him to be a new one. He holds a professional driving license.
The driver is still in police detention and the police are rushing the investigation.
Half of the passengers gave the police statement while the other half were reluctant to give the statement. However, all the passengers on board were found with no notable physical injuries.
Police claimed that the passengers are fond of the driver and they refused to speak against the driver. “Although the passengers might have suffered an accident trauma, the passengers chose to keep their lips zipped,” said the police.
When the police checked the driver’s history, it was found that the driver has about 10 offences recorded with the RSTA since 2015. “It seems reasonable to have this many records of traffic offences in the span of seven years or more, but we are not sure whether these offences are related to his tenure as a public transport bus driver or other vehicles,” said the investigating team.
Police will be presenting the report on technical issues to the court. They claimed that they are still investigating the case thoroughly. Even the owner of the bus has been summoned for the investigation.
As all the passengers left the accident area, police traced each one of them and sent them for medical examination.
The investigation took some time as the owner of the bus was living in Thrimshing, Trashigang. And it took some time to reach the Mongar police station.
The bus has been on the road since 2015. And police are investigating to check if the bus owner should also be charged in court.