Samoa PM Calls For Retraining Of Public Transit Drivers

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Land Transit Authority asked to review licensing practices

By Tupuola Terry Tavita

APIA, Samoa (Savali, August 8, 2013) – Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is of the strong opinion that all bus drivers should be immediately recalled by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to undergo higher-standard drive tests.

This follows a fatal bus crash yesterday at Siumu.

"From what I’ve been told, it appears that the bus driver does not know anything about engine braking. You can control the speed – even stop a vehicle – especially when coming downhill by shifting to lower gears. That is basic driving. If the gear is in neutral, which I suspect it was in this case, there is no way you can stop a speeding bus with a foot or hand break."

The Prime Minister warned that it was "high time" for LTA to review its bus licensing systems as "it is obviously not working."

"There have been just too many fatal accidents recently involving careless, inexperienced and irresponsible bus drivers. LTA needs to immediately step up their driving and road awareness programmes and monitoring systems."

Apart from bus drivers, said the Prime Minister, all drivers of public transport, heavy machinery and trucks as well as drivers of all government vehicles should undergo the same re-vamped drive test, immediately.

The bus crash yesterday killed a 37-old-old father of two from Maninoa when he, reportedly, jumped out of the runaway bus. The bus eventually crashed into a thicket and the bus driver reportedly sustained minor injuries.

Another accident three weeks ago involving another bus claimed the lives of two young girls when the vehicle was swept out to sea at a flooded Lano ford. Again, poor decision making by the driver was reportedly at fault.

There has been a spate of deadly bus crashes in the country the last three years killing over a dozen people.

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