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May 28, 2011

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Fatigued bus drivers 'caused crashes'

TWO fatal road accidents involving buses on the Changjiang tunnel-bridge were caused by tired drivers not paying attention, local authorities claimed yesterday.

Three people died in the smashes, which occurred in March and April, including both bus drivers.

The two drivers on the Shenchong route, from Chongming Island to the city's downtown, were not focused while driving and ran into vehicles in front of them at full speed, investigators said, following a preliminary investigation.

Weather and traffic conditions were good.

Jiang Dawei, the traffic police officer in charge of the investigation, said low traffic flow along the Changjiang tunnel-bridge could make drivers complacent, allowing them to become distracted.

Fatigue as a result of long working hours in both accidents would have further impaired judgment. Neither driver braked before impact, indicating they did not see any danger, said Jiang.

Bus drivers on the route work long hours. Each driver is expected to complete 2.5 return journeys every day, with each journey taking between one and half hours and two hours. "So it's easy to become fatigued," said Jiang.

In the first incident, on March 11, the driver was killed and two other people injured. And two people, including the bus driver, were killed in the crash on April 21. Two people were seriously injured.

Since the accidents, drivers have been asked to take breaks. Cameras have been installed to monitor them, and the maximum speed lowered to 60 kilometers per hour.


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