Back to basics for govt drivers

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BBD Bag: Drivers of buses owned by the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) will have to take a mandatory refresher course in basic skills as part of a new safety initiative.

A batch of 50 drivers each will be required to take lessons twice a week - on Thursday and Saturday -at the traffic training school of the city police near Tallah Park.

"All drivers need to take this course. It is necessary even if some of the drivers feel that they know the basics," said N.S. Nigam, managing director of the WBTC.

The trigger for the training programme was apparently the cause of the bus tragedy in Murshidabad that killed 42 passengers in January. The police investigation revealed that the driver of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation bus was on his mobile phone while driving.

Driver Sentu Biswas was on the phone for 29 seconds immediately before the bus crashed through a railing on a bridge and fell into a canal, the police said.

Sources in Lalbazar said the refresher course would focus on the basics, including road signage and what they signify, why stop-lines and pedestrian crossover points have been created on roads and how lane driving helps.

"Among different things, we will try explaining to drivers how a temporary lapse in concentration can result in an accident even when driving at a moderate speed," said an instructor at the traffic training school. "We will also highlight the hazards of using mobile phones while driving so that drivers understand why they can't afford to talk while driving, no matter how important a call is."

Since the Murshidabad accident, the state government has been trying to drive home the importance of increasing awareness among drivers about safety.

The transport department has already issued a notification saying that a driving license can be impounded and even revoked if someone is found using a phone at the wheel.


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