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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2902


Senator MELZER (VICTORIA) - I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Transport to the tragic accident which occurred in Melbourne last month when a bus carrying members of a marching girls' club ran out of control killing the driver and injuring a number of passengers. Did the Department of Transport subsequently initiate investigations into the causes of the accident? Can the Minister advise whether any special regulations covering buses will be introduced following these investigations?


Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - The Minister for Transport, through his Department, is conducting an investigation into this particular accident and also into other bus accidents that have occurred. It would appear that the accident to which the honourable senator referred was caused by the failure of a hydraulic brake cylinder on the rear wheel. As a result, the Department of Transport is preparing draft regulations on auxiliary braking devices for buses which it will present to a meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council to be held next February. The Australian Transport Advisory Council will also consider a number of other suggestions, including an emergency braking system.

The Department of Transport held a meeting of inspectors and licensing authorities in order to expedite the implementation of a uniform compulsory inspection of interstate buses. Furthermore, the Department has checked on what has been happening overseas to see whether new types of seats can be ordered which will be stronger and restrict movement upon impact. The Department has raised with the appropriate unions the question of those who drive passenger buses wearing a lap belt. In the particular accident to which the honourable senator referred it was thought that if the driver had been wearing a lap belt at the time of the accident there would have been less risk of injury. There seems to be some opposition from those who drive heavy transport vehicles to being harnessed in their seats.







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