SAFE TRAVEL FOR BUS PASSENGERS.
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A Series of Recommendations by "The Commercial Motor," which, if Adopted, will Tend Towards the Elimination of the Few Risks that Remain.
INVESTIGATION into the circumstances attending an accident to a motorbus, such as that at Nuneaton on August 30th last, when seven passengers perished in the flames, invariably shows that something has been done or left undone which was the direct cause of the accident.
The following recommendations are based upon experience accumulated over a period of many years, and are put forward as a serious contribution towards ensuring greater safety for the travelling public, pending the enactment of the necessary regulations by the Minister of Transport under powers sought to be granted to him by future legislation.
The petrol tank should not be inside the bus body. In the case of existing vehicles 60 equipped, the filling orifice should be brought by a pipe to the outside of the body.
To prevent the accumulation of petrol vapour, no floorboards should be below the petrol tank.
The shut-off valve to the petrol tank should be so situated that the flow of .petrol from the tank can be stopped without delay.
The petrol tank should have a contents indicator to reduce the risk of overfilling and the spilling of fuel.
The petrol pipe should not cross an exhaust pipe except a petrol-deflecting guard be beween them, and no woodwork should be below the petrol pipe.
The petrol tank should not be adjacent to the only doorway, or to the doorway most generally used by passengers.
Oil and grease should not be allowed to be thrown from moving parts of the mechaniSm on to the underside of floorboards. Metal guards should be used where necessary. A can of lubricating oil should only be carried in a special locker with a perforated metal floor.
The bus body should have a doorway at the rear without a door, and leading to a platform reached by steps from the left-hand side, railed for the protection of passengers. Should a door be fitted, however, it should not be capable of being fastened. The only means of ingress and egress should not be on one side of the bus only, but there should be no doorway on the off side of the bus.
Seats in the gangway should be abolished.
Floorboards should not be covered with linoleum or other inflammable material. Upholstery should not be flammable.
Management and Control.
No petrol replenishment should be allowed during the course of a journey, but only at terminal points and when no passengers are in the bus.
No reserve petrol should be carried in loose tins. Every bus should be equipped with a fireextinguisher.
Oil lamps, if employed, should be in such a position that the fumes from the overfilling of the petrol tank cannot reach them. •
Smoking in bus interiors should be discouraged.
Overcrowding is not necessarily a source of danger, but it should only be allowed in the case of such buses as are shown to comply with these recommendations. In all other cases it should be prohibited, a notice appearing prominently upon such buses stating that no passengers are allowed to stand. Such a provision should encourage bus proprietors to bring their vehicles into accord with the recommendations.
Brakes and Sprags.
Brakes on buses should be regularly inspected and, where necessary, adjusted, repaired or rectified, and at frequest intervals should be subject to police inspection. Each brake separately applied should be powerful enough to hold the bus on any gradient or to reduce its speed within a reasonable distance. Bad practices, such as the bending of brake rods In order to shorten their effective length, should not be allowed.
The sprag has been proved to be a requisite fitting on London buses operating over hilly routes, and it should form an essential item of the equipment of every bus operating in urban districts whilst drivers should be regularly practised in its use.
In the selection of drivers, besides the usual requirem.ents, eyesight should have special attention, and each driver should be tested at night as well as by day. The actions of drivers should be subject to thorough supervision, as many quite competent men will, when left to their own devices, take risks. Any complaint of recklessness or carelessness should be dealt with in a disciplinary manner.