SEOUL, Korea, Mar 25 (Korea Bizwire) – On March 19, a bus driven by a 60-year-old driver, surnamed Yeom, ended up causing a huge chain-reaction collision as it galloped down the street in Songpa District, the southeast of Seoul. To the shock of the public, Yeom reportedly had been driving for over 18 hours on the day of the accident.
According to the Seoul city government and the police, bus drivers are not allowed to be on the road consecutively longer than 9 hours a day in Seoul. The bus operator, which should have prevented such an accident by managing its employees’ working hours properly, did not even have a clue about it.
Yeom got behind the wheel again after completing his regular 9-hour shift from 5:30 am on March 19. A city official said, “Seoul’s bus drivers are allowed to drive for 9 hours a day either in the morning or in the afternoon, but Yeom worked both shifts on the day of the accident.”
If the driver’s fatigue is accumulated, the risk of an accident can rise exponentially. However, Yeom had changed shifts with his fellow driver on that day regardless.
“His colleague asked for a shift change due to his mother’s surgery, and Yeom just did him a favor,” explained the city official.
Although the real cause of the accident has not been revealed as yet, the theory involving the physical exhaustion of the driver is gaining credence as more contributing factors including that Yeom had completed a full marathon of 42.195 kilometers three days prior to the accident are revealed.
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(Korea Joongang Daily, Mar 21, 2014)
The schedule for bus drivers is notified at least a week in advance. Realistically, drivers often switch shifts one another when something unexpected comes up. Upon a change of the shift, the drivers should explain the circumstances to the company and get a new schedule approved, but Yeom and his colleague didn’t bother to go through such formalities as many other drivers do. It was only after the accident that the company found out about his day and night duties.
Yeom was killed in the accident and the black box was severely damaged. No one can confirm the exact cause of the collision at this moment, but if it has really been brought about by the fatigue, the bus company is to blame for negligent management of its human resources.
Written by Robin Koo (email@example.com)