Buses will have to fit GPS

Updated: 2012-08-28 02:02

By Zhi Yun in Beijing and Ma Lie in Xi'an (China Daily)

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Government to act after carnage on the roads

A bleak 48-hour period that saw 62 lives lost in traffic accidents has prompted the government to introduce a number of measures, including mandatory Global Positioning Systems in long-distance buses and vehicles transporting dangerous goods.

Sunday's carnage on the roads continued on Monday when a speeding truck rammed into a Toyota van at 4:50 am in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, killing nine people, officials said. The accident occurred in the Suide section of the Qing-dao-Yinchuan Expressway.

The accident was the latest in a string of crashes in two days with accidents on Sunday claiming 53 lives.

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Five people were killed and eight others were injured at 7:50 pm on Sunday after a three-wheel farm vehicle overturned on a mountain road in Shaanxi, officials from the Longxian county government said on Monday. Brake failure was the most likely cause, they said.

The worst accident occurred at 2:40 am on Sunday when a double-decker sleeper bus was engulfed in flames after smashing into a tanker carrying methanol in Yan'an city, Shaanxi province, killing 36 of 39 people on board. Two of the survivors are in critical condition and were transferred to Xijing Hospital in the provincial capital of Xi'an on Monday afternoon for more specialized care.

And the death toll in another accident on Sunday in Southwest China's Sichuan province has climbed to 12, as a survivor died in the hospital. Seven of the victims were under 18.

The deaths have shocked the nation and government departments have promised to adopt more rigorous measures to improve road safety.

Accidents: Shaanxi to ban sleeper buses during early morning

Zhao Zhengyong, governor of Shaanxi province, said on Monday that all "red-eye" passenger buses — those running from 2 am to 5 am — will be banned in the province from next week.

Central government departments, such as the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Transport and the State Administration of Work Safety, will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss measures to prevent road accidents, government sources told China Daily.

One of the measures concerns all long-distance passenger buses and vehicles transporting dangerous goods. They will be required to install GPS by the end of the year, Zhao Ruihua, deputy director of the road traffic safety department of the State Administration of Work Safety, told China Daily.

This version of the GPS will have a communication function and will be connected to monitoring platforms. These platforms will be the vehicle's company, its home city, province and a central platform in Beijing, Zhao Ruihua said.

Hou Jinglei, division chief of the administration's road traffic safety department, explained that the main purpose for installing GPS is to prevent accidents by warning drivers if they are speeding, driving for more than four hours or not on their prescribed routes, such as entering a residential area when transporting dangerous goods.

When a vehicle is speeding its company will send a voice-warning message to the driver. Meanwhile, the speed record will be kept in the monitoring platforms. The records can only be expunged after the driver is punished by the company, Hou said.

GPS is also important for accident investigations, he said.

Zhao Ruihua said a trial run of GPS was carried out as early as 2001.

More than 90 percent of the 420,000 passenger vehicles and vehicles transporting dangerous goods have GPS and access to monitoring platforms.

According to the administration, the sleeper bus had installed GPS and this will help investigators.

A report by China Central Television on Monday said traffic management authorities in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where the bus originated from, had checked messages sent back by the GPS terminal on the sleeper bus.

The last message was sent back at 2:30:59 am Sunday, suggesting the driver was suffering from fatigue.

Contact the writers at zhiyun@chinadaily.com.cn and malie@chinadaily.com.cn