HeadLine: Crash coach driver wants belt-up laws
Daily Record, 25/02/1999, p30
by SHAUN MILNE
THE driver of a coach which plunged down an embankment injuring more
than 20 people has called for tough new laws forcing passengers to wear
Eric Wilson, 51, said if his passengers had been belted up, the
number of injuries would have been far less.
He also revealed how watching documentaries about airline crews had
helped him keep the 41 travellers calm immediately after the 12- ton
coach flipped onto its side.
He said: “I just started shouting for everybody to stay calm, told
them there was no fire, no leaking fuel and we’d come to a halt.
“I said if they started moving trying to get out then more people
would be injured so they should stay where they were, and to my
surprise that’s what they did.”
Eric, a former driving instructor, was driving the Allander Travel
single decker on Tuesday on the Glasgow to Stranraer route for Scottish
Witnesses said he tried to overtake a slow-moving tractor south of
the Heads of Ayr when a car tried to pull out at the same time causing
him to swerve.
The bus then hit a grass verge and toppled over onto its side,
tossing passengers around.
Several people in the bus were injured by passengers not wearing seat
belts falling and landing on top of them.
Eric, from Bearsden near Glasgow, said laws should be tightened up to
force passengers to wear seat belts on coaches where they are fitted.
At the moment bus and coaches capable of speeds of over 59mph or more
carrying school children must have seat belts fitted.
But there is no legislation forcing passengers to wear them in the
same way as car passengers have to.
Eric said: “You walk up and down the aisle and you see about a third
of passengers are wearing them.
“What is the point of having them fitted if there is no power to make
sure they are being worn. I’m not saying seat belts would have
prevented anyone being injured at all.
“But it would have kept people in their seats and stopped them
falling out landing on others.
“I would definitely back tougher laws though, especially involving
Graham Wilson, who oversees maintenance for Allander, said: “We spend
£2500 on each bus getting them fitted with seat belts, but there
is no law forcing people to use them.”
Three passengers were detained in Ayr Hospital overnight. An 18-year-
old woman was detained in Crosshouse Hospital with a slight head
Police said they were still carrying out inquiries into the accident.
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