AFP has reported a 53-seat bus, overloaded with 57 people, plunged off a bridge in China’s Guizhou province on Wednesday (January 4), killing sixteen and leaving six others in critical condition. The accident occurred as a direct result of an over-tired driver who drove the bus across two lanes and broke through a barrier on the bridge, plunging it into a ten-meter ravine.
On December 15, primary school children died when the bus they were traveling in rolled into a river. The previous month, 19 children were killed in an overcrowded, NINE-passenger mini-van.
COMMENT: Most of our readers are well aware of my concern for high-risk bus travel in developing countries, and particularly in China.
Foreign visitors to China are reminded that over-tired, poorly trained and in some cases incompetent drivers of commercial buses in China are a major cause of so many road fatalities and serious injuries. Add to that very poorly maintained roads and virtually non-existent traffic enforcement, results in a recipe for disaster.
International travelers should be cautioned that life is not valued in China the way it is elsewhere, largely because of an indifferent central government that continues to make transportation security a priority. Consequently, foreign visitors should be vigilant of overtired drivers, overcrowding of vehicles, hazardous road conditions, etc., and get off a bus if they firmly believe there safety is in question and seek alternative, safer transportation.
On average, there are nearly 200 fatalities on Chinese roadways every DAY.