Following an accident in Hsinchu County that killed 13 people on Sunday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday said that both large and medium-size tour buses would be checked to see if the brakes still work after losing power.
Mao said buses are required to undergo three inspections per year. However, the inspections do not include ascertaining whether the brakes would continue functioning if the vehicle loses power.
He said the ministry would focus on three aspects in investigating the cause of the accident: the bus, road conditions and personnel
A video clip of the accident in Hsinchu captured on a dashboard camera showed that the bus had already driven past the curve on the highway. It should have continued moving forward, but it started to slide backward and fell into the valley instead.
The ministry said the bus was manufactured by Isuzu Motors. Since another bus of the same model had a similar accident in Taroko Gorge in Hualien earlier this month, the ministry had asked Isuzu’s agents in Taiwan to recall such buses which have been in operation for more than five years for inspection.
Directorate General of Highways (DGH) records show Taiwan has 193 medium buses that fit this criterion. DGH Deputy Director General Mile Chen (陳茂南) said Isuzu should conduct a random inspection of 20 percent of the buses by Thursday next week, checking their brake function.
“If none of them have problems, we will remove the bus as a factor behind the accident,” he said. “If any problem emerges, we will ask them to recall all buses of the same model for inspection.”