Date
18 October 2017
Police and rescuers look at the Citibus double-decker bus that crashed in Sham Shui Po on Friday. Photo: RTHK
Police and rescuers look at the Citibus double-decker bus that crashed in Sham Shui Po on Friday. Photo: RTHK

Driver fatigue or distraction eyed in fatal Sham Shui Po crash

The fatal road crash in Sham Shui Po last Friday, caused by a double-decker bus operated by Citibus, might have resulted from driver fatigue or distraction rather than speeding, initial police investigation suggested.

Two male pedestrians and a female bus passenger were killed and 30 people were injured in the incident.

According to police, data from the dashboard camera installed on the E21A bus and footage acquired from security cameras on board the vehicle all showed that the bus driver did not exceed the speed limit but failed to stop at the traffic light, Apple Daily reports.

That led investigators to suspect the driver, 44, might be too tired and sleepy or distracted before he crashed the bus.

The driver has been arrested for dangerous driving causing death. The bus has been towed to the vehicle detention center in Kowloon Bay for further examination.

Experts from the Government Laboratory and the Transport Department were due to arrive at the crash scene to collect evidence on Monday.

The accident took place at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, when the bus was traveling along Cheung Sha Wan Road towards Mong Kok behind a taxi.

As it was approaching Yen Chow Street, the taxi reportedly stopped at a yellow light but the bus continued to move forward, hitting the taxi before mounting the pavement and smashing through railings.

As of Sunday, 15 of the injured remained in hospital, with four of them said to be in serious condition.

Police said investigation will focus on the bus driver’s driving attitude and mental state at the time of the accident.

Citybus Limited Employees Union on Sunday urged the government to revise the guidelines for bus drivers, reducing the maximum working hours to 12 hours a day from 14 hours currently, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Under the controversial rule, it is normal for Citybus drivers to work more than 10 hours while some shifts even reach 14 hours, union vice-chairman Henry Hui Hon-kit said.

Hui said the relatively low pay makes it hard for bus operators to attract more drivers and so they are forced to ask their current drivers to work long hours. 

The Transport Department said it is joining the investigation of the Citybus accident, and will review current guidelines if necessary.

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TL/JC/CG

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