Nearly half the buses that went through stability tests of the Land Transport Department last year were found to have failed .
The tests are for buses 3.6 metres or taller, including double-deckers.
“Of 1,250 buses tested, just 705 have passed,” Department director-general Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket said yesterday.
According to the Thailand Accident Research Centre, accidents involving buses have already claimed 100 lives since last October.
On Tuesday, Assoc Prof Dr Kunnawee Kanitpong of the Centre disclosed the information and pointed out that research showed single-deck buses were far safer than double-deckers in mountainous areas or steep roads. She spoke a day after a double-decker plunged into a ravine in Tak, killing 29 people.
Asdsathai yesterday led a press tour around a test centre in Pathum Thani in a bid to shore up public confidence in bus transportation.
“We have required buses with a height of 3.6 metres up to undergo stability tests since April 2012,” he said. He added the tests would cover 17,588 buses, including 5,741 double-deckers.
Asdsathai expected all these buses to pass the tests before January 1, 2018, explaining that the buses that failed the tests would not be allowed to get or renew their vehicle registration.
According to results from tests conducted in 2013 across all bus types, 43.6 per cent of the tested vehicles failed. By category type, 361, or 42.8 per cent, of the double-deckers tested have failed.
In a bid to boost road safety, the Department is planning to require all buses to have an anti-lock braking system.
“We’re even thinking about requiring inter-provincial buses and for-rent buses to include a retarder, a tool that should increase safety when vehicles go downhill,” the Department chief said.
Asdsathai also revealed that all vehicles registered after April 1 last year were required to have seat belts for the driver and all passengers before Tuesday.
“Failure to do so will result in a maximum fine of Bt50,000,” he said. “Violators won’t be allowed to renew vehicle registrations.”
The Department is now working on setting the standard for auto bodies, including their seats and anchorage.
“We plan to announce the new rules on this in June,” Asdsathai said.
People who come across buses with poor safety can contact the Public-Bus Passenger Protection Centre 1584 hotline round the clock.