TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The bus driver taking his eyes off the road to look for a tissue was the cause of last month’s bus crash which killed six people, prosecutors announced Tuesday, charging the driver with criminal negligence.
A bus owned by Aloha Bus Co., Ltd. on its way from Kaohsiung to Taipei hit the guardrail on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway near the Gangshan Interchange in Kaohsiung late on September 11, killing six passengers and injuring another 11, including the driver.
At the start of the investigation, the driver, Wu Hsieh-sung (吳協松), claimed he had to veer away from a car in front which had been driving without lights in the dark, but his story was later discounted.
Surveillance cameras inside the bus showed the driver looking around for an object, the Qiaotou District Prosecutors Office announced at a news conference Tuesday. By the time he looked up, his bus was approaching the car in front too rapidly to brake, so Wu pulled the steering wheel to the left to avoid a collision, but his move sent the bus crashing against the guardrail, prosecutors said.
He was not speeding, as the bus had slowed down from 105 kilometers per hour 13 minutes before the crash to 73 kph at the time of the accident, according to the investigation.
No alcohol nor drugs were found in Wu’s blood, and reports that he had been overworking were not true, the prosecutors said. The bus company reportedly did not face any charges.
As a result of the accident, the authorities moved to make the wearing of seat belts on buses compulsory.