Occurring along Redhill Road near Redhill Food Centre, a bystander witnessed a bus engine fall out of a school bus while it was ferrying students home.
A 60-year-old woman, Ms Lin, reported to Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) that she had witnessed the incident on 12 April 2023. While a school bus passed by her, she saw what appeared to be a fragment of an engine falling out of the vehicle.
Students Were Onboard
Following the engine’s detachment from the school bus, around 20 students were swiftly evacuated to a nearby footpath to ensure their safety. Four accompanying adults were observed to join the children as they waited for alternate transportation arrangements.
According to SMDN, the incident occurred just after the bus left the nearby Gan Eng Seng School.
The police were promptly notified and arrived shortly after to divert traffic from the area. Additionally, a tow truck was observed on standby, preparing to tow the affected bus away.
Bus Driver Says He Never Encountered Such Incidents Before
According to the driver, who owned the bus, he had never encountered such a situation. He only realised something was wrong with the bus when he heard a loud noise, prompting him to brake immediately.
After inspecting the bus, he immediately requested help from a nearby bus company and made alternative arrangements for the student’s transportation.
The driver mentioned that the bus had been inspected that morning, as he had asked for the rear of the bus to be checked. He stated that the visit to the workshop resulted in several parts of the bus being changed.
However, since the bus is already damaged, he is considering scrapping the bus for a new one, as the bus is about 12 years old. The driver added that he would have to rent a bus to continue his duties as a school bus driver.
Experts Weigh In
According to SMDN, the piece that fell from the school bus was identified as the gearbox.
Several workshops were consulted regarding the incident. An expert with 40 years of experience in vehicle repairs claimed that he had never witnessed an engine or gearbox dropping out of a bus on the road in his entire career.
The expert added that if the engine support was loose, the driver should have been able to hear the noise and feel the vibration, as the engine would have started shaking or knocking against the walls.
School Bus Safety Dwindling in Recent Times
Recently, more parents in Singapore have been opting to drive their children to school instead of letting them take the school bus.
Safety concerns were the primary reason cited by these parents. Ms Iris Sim-Glasscoe, a 40-year-old mother, expressed her lack of trust in school bus drivers and worries for her children’s safety if they were to walk or take public transport to school.
Similarly, Ms Loh Lilin, a 40-year-old homemaker, cited a lack of confidence in Singapore’s bus drivers, stating that they frequently get into accidents.
These worries are not unfounded, as a recent incident saw a seven-year-old boy getting hit by a school bus when crossing the road. The boy was dragged for about four or five metres before a bystander alerted the bus driver to the incident.
He suffered severe abrasions on his head, face, and body.
Regular Maintenance & Inspections Needed
According to sources, the engine is the most vital component of any vehicle, and a malfunctioning engine is a common cause of bus breakdowns. Therefore, regular maintenance of buses is crucial to ensure the safety and reliability of transportation services provided to the public.
This includes regular inspections, cleaning, and repairing the bus and its components. Regular care is critical to ensure passenger safety and the longevity of the bus.
Furthermore, periodic inspections are essential to ensure the bus is safe and well-maintained. One critical type of inspection is the pre-trip inspection, which the bus driver involved in the incident could have performed once more before his shift.
This inspection would have included checks for the brakes, tires, lights, and engine for any damage or debris that could compromise the safety of the bus and its passengers.
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