I am writing in response to the article, “Four killed by runaway bus ‘after handbrake left off’” (SCMP, December 11. You can read the web version here).
According to the article, the driver left the empty school bus on a slope in North Point. The vehicle rolled downhill, hitting pedestrians and killing four people. The driver was dragged under the bus as he failed to stop the vehicle from rolling down the street.
First of all, there is no way a man could stop a moving bus, which is very heavy. Instead, the driver could have jumped into the bus, then pulled the handbrake, or applied the brakes. I am sure he was confused because everything happened so suddenly. But his carelessness led to the death of four people.
All drivers should take their jobs seriously because the passengers’ safety is in their hands. Some are very rude and their attitude can affect their driving. Also, some drivers work long hours. The bus companies should ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Buses can become “murder weapons” if the vehicles are not working properly, or if the drivers have a problem that can affect their driving. I hope all drivers will learn from this serious accident and other similar tragedies, and become more responsible people.
Sarah Yip, Tak Nga Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Sarah. We’re sad to report that the driver also died in that awful accident. The whole point about accidents is that they are not something anyone intends to do.
We all make mistakes, and as simple as that sounds, it is absolutely true. I would bet there is not a single reader out there who has not made a mistake in a test. The difference is that our mistakes are not deadly.
Perhaps the driver had something on his mind, or maybe he was tired or unwell. Also, the teenager who was involved in another tragic accident this week perhaps didn’t mean to dash across the road and run into a bus; maybe he thought the traffic light was in his favour.
Even the best doctors in the world make mistakes, like cutting off the wrong leg or leaving a tool in the patient’s body when they finish the surgery. But, have you noticed, that not many airline pilots make mistakes? This is because of the very thorough checking the staff and crew do before a plane takes off.
Sadly, that level of checking would just not be possible for the average school bus. But that is not to say someone can’t invent something that prevents the driver leaving the vehicle if the parking brake is not engaged.