Volvo gets 90 days to instal safety exits

Volvo gets 90 days to instal safety exits

In the wake of recent bus blazes, the state Transport Department has set a three-month deadline for all Volvo buses to instal emergency exits failing which the bus operator will be penalised and buses seized.

Minister for Transport Ramalinga Reddy announced the decision after a meeting with the private bus operators on Sunday. The operators were told to instal the emergency exits at a reasonable height on the side of the bus. 

The directive comes following two incidents of Volvo buses catching fire, which led to the death of 52 passengers on-board.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, the minister said the Transport Department will make changes in the law so that all the buses registered in the state will be equipped with emergency exit doors or exit windows at a reasonable height.

Volvo Buses Corporation vice-president Akash Passey said on Thursday that the company will comply with the condition of emergency door if the state changed the rules. 

The minister said all the bus operators have agreed to instal emergency exits/ doors within the stipulated time. Reddy said the same rules apply to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’s Volvo fleet comprising about 470 buses.

Reddy said: “Earlier, emergency exit windows, which could be broken by a hammer, were installed at a considerable height so that space could be made for two more seats. But this must be stopped. The transport secretary has been asked to make changes in the rules which allowed for such emergency exits. From now on, either emergency doors or exits at a reachable height will be compulsory,” he said.

He reiterated that Volvo buses will not be procured in the future if the company does not fit them with emergency exits at a reasonable height. 

“Preferably the emergency door or exits should be either at the back or on the right side,” Reddy said.

The Transport Department has already launched a special drive to check the drivers of the private buses who are driving rash and/or violating rules.

As per the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, Section 128 (IV), in buses, inside and outside exits should be present and clearly visible. 

They should be installed in such a way that they could be opened or operated easily in case of emergency.

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