Volvo Buses deny Andhra accident caused by faulty design
Volvo Buses has disputed the finding of Andhra Pradesh CID that the accident at Mahbubnagar which claimed 45 lives was the result of a faulty bus design.
A day after Crime Investigation Department (CID) claimed that the mishap was caused by poor design and lack of safety measures, the company Thursday came out with its clarification.
Volvo Buses said it submitted to CID officials evidence and technical data that evidence Volvo's full compliance with all stipulated regulations. "The products are fully approved under the relevant regulations in India and Volvo Buses not only meet, but in some cases also exceed, regulatory guidelines," the company said in a statement.
As many 45 passengers were charred to death when Volvo bus of a private operator coming from Bangalore to Hyderabad caught fire after hitting the culvert at Palem in Mahabubnagar district Oct 30 last year.
"The investigation carried out by the Volvo expert team points out the severity of the accident. The bus was running at a speed of approximately 100 km/h and experienced a front corner impact collision with a concrete barrier. The impact of the accident is estimated at 5 megajoule and the result of this immense impact has naturally caused severe structural damages on the bus," the statement said.
The company said its products are developed and built to minimize the consequences of accidents. Stating that it has 12 years of experience in the Indian market, the firm pointed out that 5,000 Volvo buses are in operation in India, having covered over two billion kilometres.
"However, a majority of accidents involve external, non controllable factors. The way forward to enhance overall transport safety lies in collaboration between relevant stakeholders and continuous improvement across many areas - road design, driver behaviour, bus operations, regulations and policies and the bus itself. Volvo is committed to play its part," it said.
The CID officials said the main fuel tank of 300 litres capacity and the battery compartment of the bus were close to one another in the front. When the battery compartment got ignited, the fire spread from the main fuel tank. Two auxiliary fuel tanks of 150 litres each were also situated close the main fuel tank, causing the fire to spread rapidly, they said.
The officials said they would recommend to the government to stop Volvo bus service. The CID has made Volvo an accused in the case and plans to file a chargesheet soon.
(Posted on 27-02-2014)