Just How Safe Are You Travelling by Bus in Australia?
In the past travelling by bus on the roads in Australia was not a particularly comfortable or safe experience. Even as little as three decades ago, buses and coaches were seen on the highways with smoke billowing behind them and passengers were stuffed into cramped cabins.
This is definitely not the case today, not only is bus and coach travel the cheapest form of motor travel in Australia it is also now the safest. Any injury that happens on the roads due to accidents is very much regrettable, but thankfully if you travel by bus, these are few and far between.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
A recent survey carried out by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate the safety of buses on the roads during 1990 and 1998 came out with some astonishing facts. It revealed that coaches and buses were only involved in 1% of road accident during that eight year period.
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One in Eight Hundred Million
It is hard to imagine but there are over one billion individual journeys made by bus every year in Australia. And the chances of being in an accident is one in eight hundred million. Which by any stretch of the imagination proves that bus travel is indeed a really safe form of transport.
Even the school bus is safer than the family car. According to the Institute of Transport Studies at Sydney University who conducted a survey into the comparable trips made by school buses and students travelling by private vehicles. It was concluded that the children were seven times safer travelling on the bus than being driven by their parents.
The introduction of compulsory seatbelts on buses has helped to dramatically improve safety on board the vehicles. However, some of the older buses and coaches do not have such safety features.
This is why there has been a campaign all over the country by the Bus Industry Federation to try and phase older vehicles off the roads as quickly as possible. BIC offer incentive schemes to coach operators to change their older buses for safer and more efficient newer ones.
And because of these incentives it is estimated that the changeover from new to old will be far more rapid than first anticipated.
Looking After the Drivers Better
Although it is really important to ensure the vehicles are safer to travel on, this does not address the person behind the wheel. In the past it was possible for many drivers to operate longer hours than they were supposed to.
Increased checks on driver documentation of driving hours have cut down on the chances of driver fatigue. And more and more group transportation companies are insisting that their drivers undergo regular health checks to make sure they are fit enough to operate a bus or coach.