An astounding 91% of all passenger fatalities in accidents linked to BMTC buses happens while boarding and alighting. This is a key finding of a comprehensive study of safety in public bus fleets, conducted by global safety science firm Underwriters Laboratories and World Resources Institute.

Launched in March 2015, the study tracked 1,964 fatal crash records from 2010 to 2017. These included 306 fatal accidents linked to BMTC, 198 BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport), 265 APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation), 560 KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation), 536 NEKRTC (North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation) and 99 MTC (Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Chennai) fatal bus accidents.

The study found that motorcyclist deaths were the highest in the case of BMTC and MTC at 50%. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 45% of the fatalities in the case of BEST. On an average, 42% of all fatalities involved motorcyclists.

Interestingly, a big proportion of the fatal accidents was due to mere contact. A high 75% of the crashes involved impact with the corners of the bus. The drivers’ inability to spot people within the blind spots in the front accounted for 69% of the crashes, the study found.

Eighty per cent of pedestrian fatalities occurred while crossing the road. Over 85% motorcycle fatal accidents happened due to contact with the sides while 91% bus passenger fatality occurs due to the open doors in the moving bus. The way out is to install standard-size rear view mirrors to improve visibility, and door control systems to prevent passenger injuries, it said.

Improving visibility by retrofitting mirrors was another suggested solution. During 2012-15, as many as 14 fatal crashes were reported. But zero fatal crashes were reported since the installation of standard-sized mirrors in October 2016.