Between Friday and Sunday, 29 people have lost their lives due to bus accidents that have taken place across Turkey. On Friday, six people have died in Manisa and on Sunday, another 15 died in Balıkesir. Also on Sunday, a minibus crash claimed eight lives in Izmir.
Initial findings show that these accidents were caused by the drivers’ error. In the Manisa accident, the passenger bus where six people were killed had crashed into a parked truck. Media outlets reported that the bus driver did not push the brakes at the time of the accident. In the Balıkesir accident, the driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle which toppled to the roadside. Media reports say the driver was a substitute for another driver who changed shifts with him. Local authorities had said that a passenger with her seat belt on was the only one who escaped the accident with minor injuries while others suffered from more severe injuries.
Experts say drivers forced to work long hours, driving old bus models without sufficient sleep may be because of the accidents. “Starting from tomorrow, long-distance travels at night should be required to use 2016 or newer models with AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking System) and passengers should be obliged to wear seatbelts,” said traffic safety expert, Alpay Lök told the Hürriyet newspaper on Monday. Lök said that the European inspection system that mandates forces the inspections of electronic systems should be adopted, as it improves the drivers’ working conditions. He stated measures can hinder further bus crashes from happening. “In long-distance trips, 3 drivers are assigned to each bus and they drive 50,000 kilometers (27,000 miles) per month, non-stop. Drivers sleep in the trunk of their busses. It is very unhealthy and not relaxing. It was determined in Europe that if the driver doesn’t spend two days relaxing at home, then he isn’t considered fully rested. Our drivers are always tired and sleepless,” said Lök.
Traffic accidents claim hundreds of lives every year in the country. Though the road infrastructure, which was among the culprits of the accidents in the past, was improved, reckless driving remains the main cause of the crashes. During the nine-day Qurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha) holiday last month alone, 46 people were killed as millions of Turks took to the roads to visit their hometowns for the holiday.