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LTA: Remain cautious

Shayal Devi
Friday, May 02, 2014

THE Land Transport Authority is concerned with the mind-set of certain minibus operators who focus on making profits at the expense of passenger safety.

LTA spokesman Iliesa Sokia said speeding by many minibus drivers was becoming a major concern, particularly with two accidents within days recorded in the Western Division involving minibuses.

One incident left one dead and numerous passengers hospitalised.

"We have met with some minibus operators at our Valelevu headquarters today (yesterday) and we have discussed our concerns with them following the incident on Wednesday," Mr Sokia said.

"While we have no control over the type of drivers that minibus operators employ, we want them to be more thorough and survey the people that will be driving."

Mr Sokia said owners should manage drivers well and keep safety of passengers in mind at all times.

"The LTA will be taking very strict measures against drivers who do not follow road rules.

"Those drivers who have accumulated traffic infringement notices, more than 30, will face the law," he said.

He said LTA was concerned that most accidents involving minibuses were a result of speeding.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said investigations into the two accidents were continuing and the police would comment on the matter once investigations ended.

Meanwhile, after the fatal accident at Lomawai in Sigatoka, another six people were rushed to Ba Hospital on Wednesday night after an accident at Varavu, Ba, along the Kings Rd.

"The minibus driven by a 34-year-old was returning from a funeral gathering in Suva when it hit the back of a logging truck that was parked on the side of the road," Ms Naisoro said.

"Four of the passengers were treated and sent home while one has been transferred to Lautoka Hospital.

"The sixth passenger is still admitted at the Ba Mission Hospital. Both are in a stable condition."

She said the driver was treated for minor injuries and released.

He was questioned yesterday morning.

"The driver claims he did not see the parked truck due to the heavy downpour last night. It is also alleged that the driver of the parked logging truck did not use the necessary safety equipment to indicate he was parked on the side of the road.

"We will also be looking into whether the driver of the logging truck had breached safety regulations under the Land Transport Regulations 2000.

"Section 52 (1) states 'No person may drive, use or cause to be driven or used on a public street a heavy vehicle, unless the vehicle carries not less than the portable warning signs of a type approved by the Land Transport Authority'."

She urged motorists to be cautious and mindful of safety procedures.

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