ACCIDENTS are really bound to happen. Whoever thought that in a split second, 15 persons would perish when the bus they were riding rammed a concrete fence near a school campus in Sitio Landing, Lutopan, Toledo City last Saturday afternoon. Almost 50 other passengers and bystanders were injured, some of them in serious condition.

Last June 13, 21 persons lost their lives when their tourist bus plunged down a ravine in Barangay Cansumoroy in Balamban. Two weeks ago, a wayward 10-wheeler truck carrying two vans drove into a group of fiesta revelers in Barangay Poog in Toledo City that resulted in the death of four persons.

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This latest incident involving Corominas Bus Liner happened on the Naga-Toledo Road, which motorists describe as a safer road compared to the Transcentral Highway. Some quarters blamed the Cansumoroy incident on the terrain of the Transcentral Highway, saying the road is not designed to accommodate big and heavy vehicles. Authorities prohibit big buses from using it.

But investigators blamed that incident on human error, meaning it was the fault of the driver, Jaime Batoon, who was also the operator of the ill-fated JD Tourist Bus. The bus encountered engine failure while negotiating a long downhill stretch and Batoon lost control of the vehicle.

In the trailer truck incident, the driver claimed he lost control of the vehicle when its brake malfunctioned. He managed to steer the truck to a sidewalk near the barangay church, where many vendors were displaying their wares.

In the Corominas bus accident, driver Diosdado Requizo also claimed the brakes malfunctioned. He admitted he panicked when he lost control of the vehicle. Seeing several people ahead, he decided to let the bus hit the concrete wall to stop the vehicle.

He succeeded, but at a high cost. Radio reporters who arrived at the scene while the bodies were still being retrieved described the incident as very gory.

So what do the three incidents have in common? The brakes of the three vehicles failed and the drivers lost control of the vehicles. Mechanical defect and human error, not road condition, caused the accidents.

When the Cansumoroy incident happened, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were quick to react. The agencies ordered JD Tourist Bus to submit all its units to thorough inspections, required its drivers to attend a seminar and take written examinations and suspended its operations. The same thing happened to CNT Trucking, operator of the 10-wheeler truck.

However, the agencies failed to impose the same sanction on Ceres Bus Liner, when one of its units figured a vehicular accident in Bogo City a week ago. No one died in that incident, though. In the latest tragedy, can we expect these agencies to impose the same sanction on Corominas Bus Liner? Aber, ipakita kuno ninyo diha taga LTO ug LTFRB nga wala kayong kinikilingan at pinoprotektahan.

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)