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Old 13th December 2013, 06:35   #31
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Originally Posted by sadsack View Post
The problem with any mechanical devices is that a number of things can go wrong with them owing to manufacturing defect, lack of proper scheduled maintenance, replacement of parts with spurious ones to cut costs, rash driving which includes bad overtaking manoeuvres without correctly calculating if one is an a position to completing the overtaking manoeuvre in a given distance and time. In fact, most of the highway accidents in India involving private cars are during overtaking.

In my humble opinion the reason why Volvo buses have gone up in flames twice (and actually another belonging to the APSRTC also caught flames but thanks to alert passengers and driver a tragedy was avoided) is mainly due to bad driving as was found in the case of the two Volvos that claimed lives and bad/lack of maintenance in the case of the APSRTC bus that was reduced to its skeleton despite no loss of lives. I have seen that APSRTC Garuda buses are so badly maintained and electricals are tampered with to put extra headlamps, it is just a miracle that they are not catching fires everyday. So the sum total of what I want to say is that the reasons for a Volvo catching fire could be a myriad of them, sometimes stand alone and at other times in conjunction with other reasons and we have a deadly potpourri that takes lives.
This is true with any bus and private vehicles. We snip wires to install lamps, amps and relays. Modify our vehicles without a second thought. No doubt, bad wiring causes fire, but they dont blow up like it is reported by eye witnesses.

It is agreeable if this causes break down. Not a fire of this proportion with no time to escape. Looks like the international safety standards of Volvo suggests it to self destruct on impact.

Last edited by HillMan : 13th December 2013 at 07:02.
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Old 13th December 2013, 06:59   #32
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I think that we are too quick to blame Volvo. We just love pointing the finger, don't we? Especially at that 'Foreign' company, exploiting the poor gullible Indian public! I think this may be attributed to a Nehruvian Quasi-Socialistic hangover!

Remember that Volvo has built its entire reputation on safety and nowhere else in the world have these kinds of fire accidents been reported so consistently and within so little time of each other.

Now, also think of all the other types of transport and different kinds of inter state buses being driven daily. Remember that in our country transport is a luxury and causes people to do strange things with machinery, to create oddbod modes of transport from them. Chassis are sold by the manufacturers and the body is built by some random bloke to some design specifications that do not even have safety or anything else as a priority, other than the ability to cram as many people into a bus as is humanly possible. Consider whether these are anywhere near safe in comparison to Volvo.

How can Volvo be made responsible if the operators flout norms and take shortcuts all the time, as is the typical Indian habit? How can they be responsible if the drivers and cleaners sleep in the luggage bays and carry live cooking gas stoves and cylinders in the same luggage bays?


Lets be fair in our assessment of the situation rather than scream blue murder at Volvo the way we are doing right now...

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Old 13th December 2013, 09:39   #33
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I think that we are too quick to blame Volvo. We just love pointing the finger, don't we? Especially at that 'Foreign' company, exploiting the poor gullible Indian public! I think this may be attributed to a Nehruvian Quasi-Socialistic hangover!
Its not about jumping the guns blaming a Foreign company. Exploding fuel tanks is a major design flaw. Diesel has a high flash point. You throw a burning match stick into Diesel, it will go out. You need a lot of heat to ignite Diesel, like in a fire or high compression. It is like the oil in a lamp, the wick creates the heat for oil to burn. In other words the oil is helping the wick to burn and not the other way around, otherwise there will be flame all over the oil like in case of petrol.

About safety, the perspective of safety and education in other countries is different than India. Here in an emergency people look for doors and windows to open and jump out and not break glass. And for the glass it is one of the glasses that is breakable with hammer not by hand, rest are hard and shatter proof.

The best part is Volvo got away by making great presenting about their international safety norms, multiple escape routes, which sorry to say, did not suite any of the occupants.

The sheer foundation on which the manufacturer charges premium falls flat in real life. And the bus don't seem to have the quality equipments in place to say these are built to last.
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Old 13th December 2013, 09:50   #34
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I think that we are too quick to blame Volvo. We just love pointing the finger, don't we? Especially at that 'Foreign' company, exploiting the poor gullible Indian public!air in our assessment of the situation rather than scream blue murder at Volvo the way we are doing right now...
A very mature comment shankar. I think we should wait till the actual cause of the accident is revealed and also the circumstances, before blaming anyone. When a bus overturned in a busy junction in Mumbai few months back, killing a bike rider, everybody blamed the driver. Why can't we blame the stability of the bus in such a case? The differentiating factor between a Volvo and the Indian manufactured buses is that the Volvos have more power on tap, is much more comfortable for the driver and is more chuckable. Ask the drivers to do the same circus they do in a Volvo, on the Leylands and Tatas and they will sweat. The way these Volvos are driven on our highways are purely insane. Recently, there was an article stating that in one of the speed traps of Kerala, a vehicle doing 140kmph was caught and people were surprised to know that it was a Volvo bus and not any luxury car. As they say, with great power, comes great responsibility.
We also need to blame the general public. Just check out some videos in Youtube where people are wooing and cheering when the Volvo drivers break the speed barriers. It's high time that we put some restrictions and proper training in place.
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The best part is Volvo got away by making great presenting about their international safety norms, multiple escape routes, which sorry to say, did not suite any of the occupants.
The sheer foundation on which the manufacturer charges premium falls flat in real life. And the bus don't seem to have the quality equipments in place to say these are built to last.
The new Volvo buses do come with hammers and I'm sorry to say that in a country like India, they cannot replace these stuff after every trip. I've seen lots of them being flicked just for the sake of fun. How many people think that in case of an accident, these hammers can make a difference between life and death?

Last edited by A350XWB : 13th December 2013 at 09:57.
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Old 13th December 2013, 12:10   #35
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

Volvo as well as the government body setting the rules for vehicle safety needs to adapt a few India specific rules.
1. The Hammer used to break the emergency glass should have a chain restricting its moment to the emergency glass area itself.
2. There should be restriction on chemicals used for internal cleaning. The seats and curtains supplied OE as well as the marine ply used in the flooring is chemically treated to resist secondary ignition. Local cleaning agents used for internal cleaning remove this treatment.
3. Extra fitments should be regulated.
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Old 13th December 2013, 12:40   #36
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Originally Posted by A350XWB View Post
The new Volvo buses do come with hammers and I'm sorry to say that in a country like India, they cannot replace these stuff after every trip. I've seen lots of them being flicked just for the sake of fun. How many people think that in case of an accident, these hammers can make a difference between life and death?
This is true. This country is different from others. Thats the reason why I say, the perception of safety standards else where cannot be applied for India. We have lived in a certain way and think differently.

Not only the hammer was stolen, it can be also that the staff has kept it safe in tool box from fear of being stolen. After all they have to account of it.

We least anticipate an emergency situation and take it easy. Stringent rules are the only way to help here. Even if the bus looks ugly with a door instead of a window.
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Old 27th February 2014, 10:37   #37
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

The AP CID have concluded, on basis of their investigation in the Nov-13 Mahbubnagar Volvo bis fire accident, which claimed 45 lives, that there is a ‘defect’ in the design of Volvo buses, which do not make them road worthy.

More details here:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...e#.Uw7GW-N_vpw

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/31067203.cms

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/14022...lvo-bus-faulty

As per the design of the Volvo bus, one main fuel tank measuring 300 litres is very close to the battery compartment, which also tends to be in close proximity to the road on the right hand side of the bus. In the particular case, after the bus hit the culvert, the iron pipe on the culvert railing broke & pierced into the bus, due to which sparks emanated from the battery compartment, igniting the main fuel tank, which was made of plastic.

The department will submit a report to the Centre about this (Volvo design issue).
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Old 27th February 2014, 11:09   #38
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post

NATRiP needs to be questioned about the facts that:

(1) In the Tata and Ashok Leyland days, did we have bus fires of this kind?

(2) When the Tata and Ashok Leyland buses crashed (they crashed and even today crash in greater numbers, given the thousands that ply each day) , the ductility of the metal/ wood killed and maimed passengers. There were almost no incidents of diesel tanks catching fire and killing sleepy passengers who were suffocated after they hunted for emergency exits. Not finding a way to escape, they were charred to death. The Volvos have ushered this new phenomenon - who is responsible for allowing these unsafe coffins to ply on our
.

You seriously have got the facts wrong here. There are so many cases of AL/Tata buses catching fire without even accidents. But less people tend to die as they have either partially open glass windows, shutters or tarpaulins. Volvo's are world renowned for safety unlike Pepsi and coca cola who are known for their unhealthy drinks worldwide. Tanks on vehicles tend to explode and catch fire on impact at hi speeds be it a Ferrari or Volvo. Trust them to re engineer their product to make it more safer.

Last edited by GTO : 28th February 2014 at 13:32. Reason: Please do NOT make baseless accusations against other members
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Old 27th February 2014, 11:12   #39
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Originally Posted by CARDEEP View Post
The AP CID have concluded, on basis of their investigation in the Nov-13 Mahbubnagar Volvo bis fire accident, which claimed 45 lives, that there is a ‘defect’ in the design of Volvo buses, which do not make them road worthy.

More details here:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...e#.Uw7GW-N_vpw

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/31067203.cms

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/14022...lvo-bus-faulty

As per the design of the Volvo bus, one main fuel tank measuring 300 litres is very close to the battery compartment, which also tends to be in close proximity to the road on the right hand side of the bus. In the particular case, after the bus hit the culvert, the iron pipe on the culvert railing broke & pierced into the bus, due to which sparks emanated from the battery compartment, igniting the main fuel tank, which was made of plastic.

The department will submit a report to the Centre about this (Volvo design issue).
Enclosed here is a cross section of a volvo bus. The 2 diesel tanks are located on the opposite side as seen in the top view.

There is a rod in front of the tanks probably shielding them from any foreign matter hitting them.

May be it is a case of the rods hitting the tank triggering spark thereby causing the fire.

Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?-volvo.png
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Old 27th February 2014, 14:14   #40
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

Who in their right minds can blame a manufacturer (any, not just Volvo), when operators openly say they can't afford to lose the earnings/profit from the TWO seats they'll have to remove to accommodate an emergency door?

How many people on here are questioning the operator for transporting illegal, inflammable material in the cargo hold?

How many people are questioning additional mod jobs like extra fuel tanks installed without the manufacturer's consent or knowledge, just to save some downtime?

How many people are holding the operator responsible for the co-driver's death, who was sleeping in the cargo hold because the operator would rather give the extra seat to a passenger than make space for the overworked driver to rest?

How many people are holding the drivers responsible for recklessly flouting all known traffic rules (and common driving sense) just to stick to an impossibly tight schedule?

How many people are blaming the government for wasting truckloads of tax payer money and not even providing a well-engineered, safe road to travel on in return?


When an electro-mechanical device is being used solely as a profit-making implement, while intentionally flouting manufacturing and operation safety standards (lack of emergency doors & hammers, illegal cargo etc.), and also knowingly making illegal and seriously dangerous modifications (seat blocking front exit, extra fuel tanks added without approval), why should the machine or its manufacturer be held responsible when the inevitable tragedy strikes?

When we hesitate modding our own cars illegally or unsafely due to safety and warranty/insurance concerns, why are we okay with bus operators playing with our lives, doing the same to the buses we travel in?

Or is the real reason behind all this furore is we're resigned to 'We are like this only, and we won't change, no matter what happens' Indian mentality, so we try to find the easiest scapegoat instead?

A chain is as strong as it's weakest link. A machine is only as safe as the person operating it. All our righteous indignation at the Volvo death-trap (insert any other manufacturer name of your choice here) notwithstanding, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our own personal safety standards.

So the next time you feel a certain bus is a death-trap, demand the following:
-to check the cargo hold to verify what's being transported
-operator explain why there's no emergency exit door
-why there's a seat blocking the only entry/exit point
-why there are no hammers on emergency windows
-why the co-driver doesn't have a seat in the passenger cabin

If your answers to all the above loops back to 'we are like this only and won't change', then stop complaining about the manufacturer who has no control on what's done with the bus after it's sold.


I have no particular interest in any bus manufacturer, and I absolutely hate travelling by bus these days given the absolute safety lottery being played with my life every second I'm on the bus. What grates on my nerves is the blatant fear-mongering and misplaced anger, either because we're resigned to the state-of-affairs and know nothing will change and blame whoever we can find to quell our frustrations, or are too scared to look deep into the situation, afraid and knowing all too well that we'll ultimately find our own apathy as citizens and passengers to blame for the unfortunate mess we're in.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 27th February 2014 at 14:20. Reason: Spelling and Grammar
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Old 27th February 2014, 14:30   #41
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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I have no particular interest in any bus manufacturer, and I absolutely hate travelling by bus these days given the absolute safety lottery being played with my life every second I'm on the bus. What grates on my nerves is the blatant fear-mongering and misplaced anger, either because we're resigned to the state-of-affairs and know nothing will change and blame whoever we can find to quell our frustrations, or are too scared to look deep into the situation, afraid and knowing all too well that we'll ultimately find our own apathy as citizens and passengers to blame for the unfortunate mess we're in.
The root cause for all the problems is maintenance. Be it train or bus, how much importance is given to maintenance. We service our car every 6 months or so considering the fact the sometimes the bill amount may well be on the higher side.

If you take these private operators, for them recovering the money in the shortest possible time is their primary goal. So how to achieve the same?

1. Carry luggage which is otherwise not permitted.
2. Drive rash and fast so that you reach the destination early. I am not sure as a result of this whether they make additional trips.
3. Neglect maintenance though they claim they service the buses regularly.
4. Charge exorbitant fares during extended weekends or holidays

The govt has to handle such violators strictly and the onus should be on public safety. In India nothing will happen as there is no value of life.
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Old 27th February 2014, 20:30   #42
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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Volvo's are world renowned for safety unlike Pepsi and coca cola who are known for their unhealthy drinks worldwide.
So coming back to the topic, have you seen the report that has been submitted after a thorough enquiry where the panel had consultations with the experts in industrial design, fire safety, road design etc.? Along with the NHAI and the bus operators even the Volvo has been made an accused.

The observations in the filed chargesheet mentions the findings. You shouldn't have a big battery pack sitting under the driver's seat. When it sits just in front of a fuel tank it becomes a dnagerous scenario. Any accidental spark can cause burns to the driver. With a fuel tank behind it is a double risk. And when the tank happens to be made of plastic type of material which can be pierced in an accident scenario it is a disaster as it will cause an immediate fire from the spark. In case of Volvo the floor is also made of wood unlike most other buses. This acts as a contributor to the raging fire in such scenarios.

You say they will take these inputs and improve. Yes, I am sure they will have a serious look at these implications. However as of today they do have a very undefendable situation at hand! That's the bottomline, if you get what I am saying.

Last edited by GTO : 28th February 2014 at 13:33. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 27th February 2014, 21:33   #43
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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So coming back to the topic, have you seen the report that has been submitted after a thorough enquiry where the panel had consultations with the experts in industrial design, fire safety, road design etc.? Along with the NHAI and the bus operators even the Volvo has been made an accused.

The observations in the filed chargesheet mentions the findings. You shouldn't have a big battery pack sitting under the driver's seat. When it sits just in front of a fuel tank it becomes a dnagerous scenario. Any accidental spark can cause burns to the driver. With a fuel tank behind it is a double risk. And when the tank happens to be made of plastic type of material which can be pierced in an accident scenario it is a disaster as it will cause an immediate fire from the spark. In case of Volvo the floor is also made of wood unlike most other buses. This acts as a contributor to the raging fire in such scenarios.

You say they will take these inputs and improve. Yes, I am sure they will have a serious look at these implications. However as of today they do have a very undefendable situation at hand! That's the bottomline, if you get what I am saying.
Now coming to what you said about the report submitted with inputs from experts in various fields. I doubt any such exists in road design in India? How can the operator be blamed for launching a product that met the safety guidelines of the land and improved travel between cities. It's because fire that's causing the death it's been reported as it's got more TRP than an normal road accident. How many die in our AL/Tata busses daily due to primitive engineering.
The morons at Tata and AL only launched air suspension after volvo, till then they were happy breaking the back bones of rear passengers. And now we have a dozens fire accidents among the '000s Volvo's plying on our roads and suddenly we have a expert committee to investigate. Why doesn't government introduce strict safety norms and make basic amenities for the crew and passengers mandatory. Lets see how the industry react?

Last edited by GTO : 28th February 2014 at 13:34. Reason: Please do NOT make baseless accusations against members
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Old 27th February 2014, 22:21   #44
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

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The morons at Tata and AL...
Whoa... you are in a real vile mood. And you are abusing everyone in sight, negating reports and questioning every logic. I suggest you take a coffee break. And please desist from using the kind of epithets you are using for everyone.

Last edited by GTO : 28th February 2014 at 13:34. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 27th February 2014, 23:19   #45
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Default Re: Are Volvo Buses unsafe? Prone to fire?

There are multiple factors which led to this accident, and the report highlights all such parties. Wish that these findings don't go waste and proper corrective measures are taken to prevent such mishaps in the future.

Hope media does its role correctly and not digest all others involved and just project Volvo as the villain. Horrendous road conditions, unmarked medians spurting out of nowhere, sudden dips and humps near culverts on high speed highways, non-considerate usage of high beams, unlwalful modifications of standard buses, the list is endless...

Authorities should do their part in providing infrastructure, manufacturers should provide safe vehicles, and finally, us, the road users, be considerate to each other on the road. Phew, little too much to ask for.
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