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Old 8th May 2006, 05:11   #16
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Very well put, SPEED_DEMON82

But aren't most freeways all over the world like that? Smooth, devoid of steering challenges, almost sedative. That is why, many of us who are up and about in the daytime, prefer not to drive long distance at night.

And passenger transports (air, rail and bus) that operate night services, must deploy drivers that sleep all day and come into their brightest and best at night.

Now here the man is doing 120 with an airsuspended Volvo full of sleeping travellers. He has six good halogen lamps, an air horn that can be heard a kilometer away, clear visibility on an empty night expressway. Even assuming the other truck had its lights broken, and its driver sleepy, the Volvo could still see it up ahead in advance.

The Volvo B7R can stop on a coin when the chauffeur chooses to squeeze the big brake pedal. And that should be his tactic, if the truck ahead drifts sleepily into his lane.

When we drive, we keep a mental image of the other drivers being stupid, drunk, incompetent, whatever... Part of our inner safety strategy. We avoid incident through our diligence not the other guy's.

Some very key factor, that caused this catastrophe, still hasn't surfaced.

Maybe, driving habits too risky for someone entrusted with 36 lives in a Volvo B7R at 120 km/hr.
Maybe he surrendered everyone's safety to the truck driver, at the fateful moment.

Last edited by Ram : 8th May 2006 at 05:23.
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Old 8th May 2006, 10:02   #17
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Wishful thinking in India, but don't most developed countries run their bus services just the way airlines operate? That is, each driver must maintain an accurate log of his driving hours, and he is not allowed to exceed the stipulated driving hours. Also, the buses are fitted with data recorders to ensure that speeds are maintained.

I remember watching the show on discovery about the autobahn where they covered this in brief.
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Old 8th May 2006, 10:30   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtech
Wishful thinking in India, but don't most developed ...
Rtech, I didn't understand your "wishful thinking" comment. What do you suggest, is wishful thinking in India, on my part?
  1. That we prefer to avoid driving long distance at night?
  2. That night drivers must sleep during the day and be alert at night?
  3. That the Volvo bus has excellent lights for night time driving?
  4. That it has superior stopping characteristics than a BEST bus?
  5. That we should depend on our own diligence rather than the other guy's, to avoid accident?
  6. Or that the Volvo driver should not have risky driving habits?
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Old 8th May 2006, 11:48   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drifter
Driving hours should be limited and proper rest periods should be given to the drivers. Remember fatigue kills!

But...dont the long distance coaches carry a spare driver? I think they do.

Drifter

normally the driving hours are limited to about 8-10 hours per driver ...but sometimes due to traffic or some other reasons this might extended ...normally buses having their destinations less than 500kms have only one driver..


i remember that in teh late 80's KSRTC buses had a single driver to for a mangalore-mumbai journey which used to take atleast 24 hours
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Old 8th May 2006, 12:14   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram
Rtech, I didn't understand your "wishful thinking" comment. What do you suggest, is wishful thinking in India, on my part?
Ram, the wishful thinking comment was made as there really is no hope of any laws being put into place (or even if they are, there will be no policing of it) to organise these bus services and ensure that passengers are given a safe, efficient service.
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Old 8th May 2006, 12:53   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
Now here the man is doing 120 with an airsuspended Volvo full of sleeping travellers.

The Volvo B7R can stop on a coin
While reading the words in bold above - Shouldn't these Volvo buses have seatbelts for every passenger ? Can be handy and life saving during emergency stops .

But then who will ensure that everybody straps on the belts ?
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Old 8th May 2006, 15:26   #22
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The volvo buses had made a revolution in our road travel experiance.
Yet these are the beasts that are to be tamed before you make a ride.
Untrained drivers on Volvo B7R is like a nuclear bomb at saddams hand.
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Old 8th May 2006, 15:29   #23
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thats quite a crash there..wasnt expecting such a nasty pic wen i read the name.. volvo's autombiles are rock solid!!
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Old 8th May 2006, 21:06   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v.tec
..wasnt expecting such a nasty pic wen i read the name.. volvo's autombiles are rock solid!!
Aren't the rock solid Volvos that you're referring to, the original Swedish built cars? A Volvo 740's door hinges are built tough enough to take the weight of the car.


Indian Volvo buses
Volvo B7R is a chassis, devoid of body. Volvo only assembles the B7R chassis with its imported Volvo engine and powertrain, at Hoskote, Karnataka.

The bus bodies used in India are built by a Whitefield, Bangalore-based company called Jaico Automotive Engg. (Azad Group) and bolted onto the Volvo B7R chassis

The front face is fibre-glass and so is the dashboard that holds the Instrument panel and VideoCD player.


Volvo also make and install their own bus bodies on the B7R chassis. One example of a complete Volvo bus on the B7R chassis is the Volvo 7350 (sold in Mexico as Volvo 7350 Mexicoach)

Left hand drive, what you see is the passenger door

Last edited by Ram : 8th May 2006 at 21:08.
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Old 8th May 2006, 21:20   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
But aren't most freeways all over the world like that? Smooth, devoid of steering challenges, almost sedative. That is why, many of us who are up and about in the daytime, prefer not to drive long distance at night.

And passenger transports (air, rail and bus) that operate night services, must deploy drivers that sleep all day and come into their brightest and best at night.
Yes Sir, agreed. that is the very concept of Freeways & Expressways. Just that most of us Indians are not ready for them. Moving from the slow & trecherous old Pune Highway straight onto something as magnificent as the Expressway ... i dont rest needs to be be explained

From what ive seen in India is that most luxury bus operators pay thier drivers per trip. Usually on a trip >400kms, they have 2 drivers per bus. But on journeys via expressway upto 600lms they have just 1 driver. So, its this 1 driver that drives from destination A to B, the he hardly has a few hrs nap and hes back in business driving from B to A. Where is the good days sleep?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
Now here the man is doing 120 with an airsuspended Volvo full of sleeping travellers. He has six good halogen lamps, an air horn that can be heard a kilometer away, clear visibility on an empty night expressway. Even assuming the other truck had its lights broken, and its driver sleepy, the Volvo could still see it up ahead in advance.
Speed limit on the Expressway is limited by the authorities to 80 kmph and in some stretched to 30kmph even. If he would have stayed at 80, the pictures posted would have looked different.

Whats the use of the tech n tools that the mighty bus comes with if it is in the hands of a tired, stressed, weary driver who is almost asleep in that plush air-conditioned moving 3 star hotel room ... hehe

I remember JC saying on Top Gear when he was doing the SLR race that the concentration level of a sleepy human is the same as that of one who had a few pegs of alcohol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by normally_crazy
Shouldn't these Volvo buses have seatbelts for every passenger ? Can be handy and life saving during emergency stops .

But then who will ensure that everybody straps on the belts ?
Good point. There are seatbelts but i believe its only for the front row of seats. Now,Imagine yourself doing a journey in a Volvo from A to B distance of which is more than 500-600Kms, would you wear a seatbelt for the entire course of the journey??? Wouldnt be very comfortable imo.

By writing here i dont mean to say that the Drivers are careless and irresponsible. They are simple humans just like u and me with families to go back to. Its just that even they are under pressure of completing the journey in time (competition steps in here) else, their bosses are there at the other end to see them off and have another one hop into his seat.

Like how most of us go on the expressway to explore the faster part of us and to take our cars to thier linits, Im sure it must no longer be exciting for them to 'speed' on the expressway given that they are on that same boring road in that same bus almost every day!!
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Old 8th May 2006, 21:38   #26
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Just to recap about what happened when I rode in a Volvo bus

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...ighlight=volvo
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Old 8th May 2006, 23:50   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
What’s with these Kolhapur-Mumbai Konduskar Volvos?

Is it that
  • they drive at night?
  • the road is strenuous?
  • the drivers are poorly trained?
Anybody know any more?
Excellent work posting these pics. I don't know the relationship between Konduskar or Metro-Link (I think Metro Link operates these buses owned by Konduskar--just a guess), but Metro Link has a reputation for reckless speed. I've been on a Metro Link bus that got from Pune to Dadar in around 2 hours flat in the evening. Was scary....

Also, Kolhapur-Bombay would usually be done by one driver--usually, it is a night run where they get on the road by 9 or 10 pm and touch destination early morning and then 'rest' through the day.

In fact, though they are expensive (Rs 225 as compared to anywhere from Rs 150 onwards for private Volvos), MSRTC Volvos are the safest bet--the drivers are well trained and don't overspeed--it also helps that they have proper working hours. Volvo drivers supposedly have to be trained by Volvo India before they start driving and even have a minimum educational qualification, but I doubt the private guys who're trying to cut corners follow Volvo guidelines--and heck, Volvo India may look the other way too, considering it wants to maximise sales and now faces competition from the Tatas and Leyland who will soon bring in similar buses.

In Karnataka too, I find the situation to be similar--I've done quite a few Bangalore-Mangalore-Bangalore runs and the private guys (except Manjunath, who operate like a professional travel company) drive like maniacs--they reach in 6 hours while the KSRTC Volvos take 8 hours! And if you glance out of the window or the front windscreen, it's scary. The private Volvos overtake EVERY vehicle on the road, and drive right in the centre of the road most of the time, constantly overtaking, only ducking in when there's oncoming traffic.

In fact, if you look at a private and government Volvo, you can clearly notice the different--all the government ones I've seen--MSRTC, KSRTC, APSRTC and Uttaranchal Roadways, look new even after a few years of use, but private ones are dented all over, have some panel missing, are rattling and belching black smoke, within 2 years or so. I've seen some Volvos on the Mangalore-Bangalore run that are so bad, it's more comfy travelling on a normal 'deluxe' bus. Take a look at the MSRTC Volvos on the Bombay-Pune route and take a look at the Neeta Volvos and you'll know what I mean.

The Volvo B7R is a great vehicle and has revolutionised long-distance public road transport in India, but it looks like better regulation is needed for these powerful machines. For instance, just like multi-axle truck drivers need special licenses (not sure about this--but think it is necessary), perhaps Volvo drivers (or buses of this class with such high power) need a special license too. Also, operators have a huge role to play too and unfortunately unlike airlines where private means better, the opposite is true in the premium category of road transport in India. Manjunath is good on the Bangalore-Mangalore run and Raj National shows a lot of promise. I say 'shows' because I tried them once and everything seemed perfect--Net booking using the same engine that private airlines like Kingfisher uses, seat reservation online, etc, but once you get there, they seemed like the normal guys--they said seat reservations would not be honoured as the bus had 'broken down,' bus would be late, please adjust, etc, etc, etc.

Hopefully mine was a rare case, but we definitely need more operators like Raj who would operate on a national scale and differentiate themselves on the basis of a premium, high-safety offering that isn't the fastest but based on reliability. Incidentally, around 10-20 years ago, Ghatge Patil Transports offered the same--a large transport company, with regulations, safety and reliability, even though they weren't the fastest; and their tickets were always a bit more expensive. And their buses weren't the newest too; but just well maintained. I see Ghatge Patil buses on the road today too, but haven't a clue whether they still have the same respect from the travelling public.

As an aside, some of the Bombay-Mangalore carriers you spoke of still exist--CPC is primarily a truck company, but has some buses yet and Ballal has broken up but still plies under different branches of the family.

And perhaps this is off-topic , but I read recently that the Bombay-Pune taxi service is the safest way to reach Pune, because it seems they have never had a serious accident....found it difficult to believe, but the article claimed it. And when you drive in one of those taxis, you realise--perhaps it is true; those guys know the road like the back of their hand, never overspeed, stop at least once, etc.

- Ivor
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Old 9th May 2006, 03:48   #28
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Well there are 3 new technologies to detect a sleepy driver:
  1. A device like a dog collar worn around driver's neck. If he nods off, then it beeps.
  2. A sensor that scans the drivers pupil/eye and can detect how fast it flutters.
  3. A sensor that scans the white lane markings and looks for drifting. (for this we need to have lanes clearly marked everywhere.)
I think the dog collar is the cheap and best technology for India. Heck, if F1 drivers can wear HANS, then whey cant these guys put up with it.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:09   #29
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I have been in a Volvo (Neeta) which had a accident on the Expressway at night...It was due to a truck with no tail-lights suddenly changing lanes on a left handed curve and coming into the right most lane where the bus driver had no time to avoid the crash. He slammed teh brakes and the bus skid a bit and he managed to avoid a full on collission and the left side of the bus hit the edges of the truck which then went off across all the lanes into the left side bank!
The bus halted in the median and only the door got jammed with few cracks on the windshield, we continued after 10 mins and only problem was that everyone had to get down from the driver's door in Pune. :-)
Scary but only people slightly hurt/rattled were in the front seats who never bothered to wear the belts.

I wrote all this to just say that it could have been that the driver couldn't do anything as some idiot truckers roam our highways.
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Old 10th May 2006, 13:18   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhay
I have been in a Volvo (Neeta) which had a accident on the Expressway at night... truck with no tail-lights suddenly changing lanes on a left handed curve and coming into the right most lane where the bus driver had no time to avoid the crash.

I wrote all this to just say that it could have been that the driver couldn't do anything as some idiot truckers roam our highways.
Gasp! Abhay, glad that all of you were saved!

My humble deposition is that it always takes two idiots to make a crash!

Why was the Neeta driver speeding on an uphill left-handed curve?
He assumed the entire right lane was his! That’s why he had no time to recover when the truck drifted right.
On a left handed curve this can swiftly become disaster!

I suspect this happened on the ascent up the ghats after Khopoli. Am I right?

The truck probably went off across all the lanes into the left side bank, just because the Neeta Volvo had more momentum! What if it’d had less?

All over the world, the law states as follows:
Whenever a vehicle A behind a vehicle B runs into it or hits it, it is always the vehicle A’s fault. That’s because, vehicle A is expected to maintain safe distance at all times.

Clearly it was the Neeta driver’s fault and nobody else’s. He cannot have grabbed ownership of his lane. Never…

British rules say,
“…
Rule 139: Overtake only when it is safe to do so. You should
  • not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake,
  • use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance into the blind spot area and then start to move out
  • not assume that you can simply follow a vehicle ahead which is changing lanes; there may only be enough room for one vehicle
    (this is where the Neeta driver went wrong)
  • move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in
  • take extra care at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance
    (Again the Neeta driver should have compensated for poor visibility on the left handed curve)
  • stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left
…”

DMV California rules say…
“…
On curves, there is a strong outward pull on your vehicle especially when the road is slippery. Rain, mud, snow, or gravel make the road slippery. If a speed limit is not posted before a curve, you must judge how sharp the curve is and change your speed.
Slow down before you enter the curve. Braking on a curve may cause you to skid.

Most rear end accidents are caused by tailgating. To avoid tailgating, use the “three-second rule.” When the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point such as a sign, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.”

This takes about three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.

You should allow a four-second or more cushion when:
  • Towing a trailer or Carrying a heavy load. The extra weight makes it harder to stop.
  • Following large vehicles that block your view ahead. The extra space allows you to see around the vehicle.
…”

Australian rules: (page 44 & 45 of 132)
“…
A low risk driver maintains a crash avoidance space completely around the vehicle. The crash avoidance space is managed by adjusting the vehicle’s speed and road position.
To determine the crash avoidance space to the front of the vehicle you need to take into account two key factors – reaction time and response time.

Reaction time is the time the driver needs to:
See the information. Perceive what it means. Decide on a response. Instigate that response.
A driver who is fit, concentrating, alert and not affected by alcohol, drugs, fatigue or a distraction, will still require about one and a half seconds to react.

Response time is the time required to take action. Generally a minimum of one and a half seconds is needed to respond. In many situations braking may be the only possible response. Swerving is rarely appropriate and can result in a more severe crash, for example a head-on collision.

A total of three seconds crash avoidance space is needed to react and respond to a situation in front of you. You may need even longer in poor conditions such as rain or darkness. The three-second rule, explained below, can be used when following another vehicle or if there is potential for something to move into your crash avoidance space.

As the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes an object at the side of the road such as a power pole, tree or sign, start a three-second count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one
thousand and three’.
If your car passes the object you picked before you finish the three-second count, you are following too closely.Your crash avoidance space is not large enough.

Slow down, and repeat the count again until the three-second crash avoidance space is achieved.

In poor driving conditions, such as rain, night and gravel roads, it may be necessary to increase your crash avoidance space to four or more seconds. To reduce the risk of driving into the rear of a
vehicle, the three-second crash avoidance space is essential, as the vehicle in front has the potential to stop very quickly if it collides with another vehicle or stationary object.
…”

Abhay, what if the truck ahead was a big 40-foot container truck? What if it had accidentally dumped the container in the Neeta's lane?

Our drivers depend on luck for safety, I tell you!

Best regards
Ram
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