Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Sumatra Suspends Three 'Killer' Buses

THREE buses that operate upcountry services have had their licences suspended following three grisly motor accidents, in which 20 people were killed and 158 others injured.

Announcing the suspension in Dar es Salaam on Monday, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), said the buses are owned by three firms -- Osaka Royal Class, Polepole Classic and Burhan Bus Services.

In a statement signed by the authority's Public Affairs Manager, Mr David Mziray, said the three buses, which belong to the mentioned firms, have been suspended after checks established that they had flouted safety regulations.

They were also found to be defective. According to the statement, SUMATRA has been compelled to suspend operating licences for the three buses until they meet a number of conditions that would assure the authority and the police of their ability to operate safely.

For Osaka Royal Class, he said, on December 10, this year, the bus, with registration number T819BYL and driven by one Emmanuel Semkamba, was involved in an accident at Kirinjiko in Same District, Kilimanjaro Region while on its way to Dar es Salaam from Arusha.

Three passengers were killed and 33 others injured. Initial traffic police investigations established that the driver of the ill-fated bus failed to control the vehicle due to speeding.

The vehicle was also found to be defective. "Using the law, SUMATRA has decided to withdraw licences of buses owned by Osaka Royal Class with registration number T819BYL, T417 AAG, T852 AUL, T206 CJZ, T201 CJZ, T437 BJK and T852 AUL," Mr Mziray said in the statement.

The bus owners have been ordered to submit details of the driver who caused the accident, in addition to sending him for a fresh driving test under police supervision.

As for Polepole Classic, the SUMATRA official said the bus, with registration number T898BKN, caused an accident recently in Babati District, killing five people and injuring 32.

Regarding Burdani Bus Service, their bus, with registration number T610ATR and driven by Ruta Kwadahel was involved in an accident on its way from Korogwe to Dar es Salaam, killing 12 people and injuring 93.

Earlier police reports attributed the accident to speeding and driver's negligence. He said they have also been suspended until the buses are inspected by Police on the safety standards.

As in the case of Osaka Royal, owners of the two buses would have to submit details of the drivers who caused the accident and should also undergo fresh driving tests under police supervision.

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