Bus driver hailed a hero

There will be a re­view of the use of heav­ing ve­hi­cles, such as trucks, dri­ving along the right lane of the high­way fol­low­ing Tues­day's hor­rif­ic ac­ci­dent which killed two peo­ple and left 48 in­jured.

This was con­firmed by Min­is­ter of Works & Trans­port Ro­han Sinanan af­ter he vis­it­ed some of the ac­ci­dent vic­tims at the Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ence Com­plex on Wednes­day.

"It is some­thing that we are look­ing at, I can't say why they were on that lane. But it is some­thing that we are look­ing at," said Sinanan.

"I spoke to the Di­rec­tor of High­ways and once the full in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the ac­ci­dent is com­plet­ed we will have to look at some of the laws that gov­ern the us­age of the road­way."

In Tues­day's ac­ci­dent, a loaded dump truck suf­fered a blown right front tyre on the left lane caus­ing it to col­lide with an­oth­er truck trans­port­ing bot­tled wa­ter on the cen­tre lane. The im­pact caused the sec­ond truck to cross the me­di­an and col­lide with a PTSC bus head­ing north.

Two women on the bus were killed and al­most all the pas­sen­gers were in­jured.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­ist­ing laws, how­ev­er, trucks and bus­es which fall in the heavy ve­hi­cle class are re­quired to main­tain a speed of 65 kilo­me­tres per hour on the high­way. The right lane of the high­way is gen­er­al­ly re­served for peo­ple in­tend­ing to over­take.

The speed lim­it on the high­way is set at 100 kilo­me­tres per hour for cars and pick-up trucks.

Some, in­clud­ing the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice Road safe­ty co­or­di­na­tor Brent Bat­son, had point­ed out that trucks should not use the right lane as a re­sult.

The right lane is al­so the lane clos­est to the me­di­an, so ve­hi­cles in that lane of­ten have the high­est prob­a­bil­i­ty of cross­ing in an ac­ci­dent.

Bat­son, how­ev­er, said both the bus dri­ver and the Blue Wa­ters truck dri­ver should be com­mend­ed for their han­dling of the ve­hi­cles in the sit­u­a­tion.

"Luck­i­ly by some mir­a­cle, that bus dri­ver even though he was cut up and sliced up by a lot of glass, man­aged to bring that bus safe­ly to the left side of the road," said Bat­son.

"He's a hero to be iden­ti­fied in this be­cause re­al­ly and tru­ly that would have tak­en a lot of skill, a lot of com­po­si­tion to do that."

Bat­son said if the truck dri­ver did not show the aware­ness to stop his ve­hi­cle from ful­ly cross­ing the me­di­an, more would have died.

"It's al­so a mir­a­cle that the truck did not go head on. If that truck had hit full mass in­to that bus, we would be look­ing at a min­i­mum of 20 dead," said Bat­son.

Chair­man of the Pub­lic Trans­port Ser­vice Cor­po­ra­tion Ed­win Good­ing, agreed the dri­ver did a re­mark­able job giv­en the cir­cum­stances.

"One of the rea­sons for that would be the kind of the train­ing that our dri­vers go through, every year they have to be cer­ti­fied to en­sure they are ready for the road," said Good­ing.

"In this case, the dri­ver avert­ed what could have been more dam­age by keep­ing calm and bring­ing the bus to a safe stop."

Good­ing vis­it­ed the EWM­SC with Sinanan to as­sure ac­ci­dent vic­tims and their fam­i­lies that the Gov­ern­ment and PTSC would re­main in con­tact with the fam­i­lies and will be of­fer­ing sup­port to them in the wake of the ac­ci­dent.

Hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties said 21 of the 25 vic­tims who were ward­ed at the Mt Hope hos­pi­tal were dis­charged on Wednes­day.

Reporter: Peter Christopher

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