After 52 people burned to death in accidents involving Volvo buses last year, the government may issue directives to manufacturers for minimising impact of such mishaps, including designing fuel tanks in centre and easily accessible emergency exits. The recommendations for change in bus designs has been given by a high-level panel probing two accidents involving Volvo buses last year.
"Bus manufacturers should be advised to look into having fuel tanks only towards the centre of the bus and not on the sides. This would ensure that they are not exposed to impact," Transport Ministry-appointed National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) panel has recommended after probing the accidents. It also said, "Bus and bus body manufacturers should be advised to have openable and easily accessible emergency exits. All glass windows should be either openable or have easily accessible hammers," the report said.
In the first accident at Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh on October 30, 2013, 45 passengers were charred to death as a Volvo bus burst into flames after its fuel tank caught fire as the Hyderabad-bound bus from Bangalore hit against a culvert. The entire bus was engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes. In the second incident on November 14 last year, seven passengers were killed and 40 injured when a Mumbai-bound bus from Bangalore caught fire after hitting a road median at Haveri in Karnataka.
The NATRIP has also said, "Proper signage should exist on the highway. Features such as narrowing of lanes and presence of culverts as well as other features such as turns, rough roads, merges and exits should be properly highlighted."
Meanwhile, based on the inquiry report, road transport and highways (RTH) ministry has asked research bodies to examine the proposals.