Volvos on fire ... How come no one is discussing this ? ...

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In the last two weeks, we have seen two Volvo buses catching fire (one in AP, near Mahboobnagar and the other in Karnataka, near Tumkur) resulting in loss of numerous lives. Both cases involve scrapping of the fuel tanks by road dividers or culvert walls. In both cases, the plastic fuel tanks exploded giving hardly any time for the passengers to realise the danger and exit safely. In the first instance, almost all the passengers were burnt alive. In both cases, the buses were being driven at more than 120 to 140 kmph on average quality roads. Both accidents took place between 2 to 3 a.m.

How come, no one in the forum is discussing this ?

When two Nanos were on fire (remember, there are no loss of human life in those cases), every member here and on all the other automobile forums contributed liberally and gave a dressing down to the Tata Motors. Even from those who never had driven a Nano. Or, even by those who never sat in a Nano. In fact, the vociferous complaints also came from even those who never touched a Nano, leave alone sitting or driving one.

But now, when almost all of us, at some time or the other, had travelled in these Volvos (either the conventional Volvo or the multi-axle Volvo) many times, I am surprised to see that no one even talking about it.

Even the national press (except the local editions of vernacular press ) seems to have given this sort of cold-shoulder to these two gruesome accidents. The media, now seems to be eager to worry about Rahul-Modi or about Sachin. And, nothing else. Ooh.

I have decided to avoid travelling by these super-luxury death palanquins till some sort of safety

measures are placed in position.

Why not the Volvo scale down the HP ratings of these buses ?

Why not the RTA guys insist on speed limitors for these buses ?


Please contribute your ideas. Let the members become aware of the danger lurking in these

uncontrolled speedsters.

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More on this.

Both buses are going to/coming from Mumbai. Both are inter-state buses which do not have `contract carriage' licence to

operate as regular service between two points. They are registered as `tourist buses'.

Soon after the first accident (in which a good number of software professionals have lost their lives), in Hyderabad and

Bangalore, the topic for lunch-time discussions in many software companies was this accident.

The fatal rate in the first accident was very high, as none of the passengers (even youngsters and some young software professionals and other able-bodied) EVER THOUGHT OF BREAKING ANY OF THE HUGE GLASS WINDOWS. By the

time the second accident took place, there were some `enlightened' passengers in the second accident. I have read that

a 14-year old and a young software guy had taken the initiative and broke a couple of glass panes, through which they

first escaped and later about 15 members escaped from what were to be a certain death.

There were hardly 5 minutes or even less than that to come out of deep sleep, understand what is happening around,

extricate oneself out of the tight seats, break the glass panes, jump out of the bus into the midnight from a 10 to 15

feet high and pray that you live with minor bruises and injuries.

In both cases, the seat covers were NOT using any fire-retardent material. On the contrary, the material used was highly

inflammable and gave out a lot of smoke. This smoke (in a close bus body) was the main cause of death in both the cases.

Is it not time for VOLVO to have easily collapsible glass panes/windows ?

These should be easily broken/dismantled from inside, without using any tools.

The RTA should make it mandatory for ALL VOLVOs to have fire-retardent seats/seat covers/cushions/curtains.

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Actually not to sound too dull/non-bothered types don't we all know about the conditions even the top operators run their luxury buses. No one even discusses about a bus crash if its a Tata/AL breed so why show more interest towards Volvo. Don't people speed up on the highway over 120kmph+? As far as I know the Volvos have better braking power than most hatchback at those speeds (non-premium ones).

Atleast Volvo's have safety doors/windows (the windows in the front on both sides) and open-able sun-hatches as emergency doors. It the responsibility of the operator to make passengers aware about these exits (Actually if one can read it printed on them). Has anyone ever seen a safety windows/ doors in AL/Tata ?

Speed Limiter/Governer is a govt limitation were as the operator will want more speed for better frequency and more money. Don't you like to see/hear that bus only takes 18-20 hrs to reach from Mum-Bangy than say 24 hrs, even people will not like to go in bus with speed limiters. The speed governer circuit is very easy to overcome and one can pay 1000 bucks to remove them which even the govt buses have done that ply in New Delhi against Delhi govt policy.

If one scales down horse power then these heavy beast won't have the luxury/speed bus appeal another deterrent to operators/Volvo.

Easy to break windows are already given by Volvo as the front two windows behind the driver and the left and right side but the hammer provided by Volvo to break the glass is always missing.

Also if people think that its a design fault/ poor fuel tank design then think again why will a company obsessed with safety design it in such a way ,they crash test cars/busses daily in there main factory in different scenarios to learn and to avoid the crash.

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All buses must have emergency exit doors, breakable glasses, roof hatch/rear window exit etc. i would suggest to provide multiple options so that all type of passenger can exit in all type of situation.

It is not possible for the old, women and children to jump from the bus through the window easily.

remember the emergency exit doors on the mofusil busses. they were provided in the middle, front or back.

KSRTC has provided the same on all volvos, TATA and AL buses.

I also say that there is a design flaw in the volvos. TATA or AL buses dont catch fire on scraping the side body. hence are much safer in that regard.

Whats the use of ABS when u ll be roasted in fire?

there is no point in saying that the top speed of the vehicle is the culprit. Every operator and driver wants to make their passengers home in the shortest possible time. the only way to ensure safety is to train them on driving safely within the limits. proper rest before the journey. proper work hours and driving schedules.

passengers should take initiative in telling the drivers to not overspeed or drive rashly.

also the govt officials must increase highway patrols to check for offences by the bus operators and drivers.

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This is bound to happen at these killer speeds knowing the condition of our roads , you cant expect much from even the SAFEST of vehicles if you decide to drive them off a cliff.

The tank problem must be attended to , no questions about it .

The hue and cry about TATA was more because everyone of us treated them as our own and thus we watched them closely so that a car that would give BRAND INDIA a global recognition does not falter at the world stage.

Surely we lack basic road safety apparatus and road monitoring at these graveyard timings is also at it bare minimum .

In my personal capacity , It is more important to find the TRIGGER of these accidents.

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ABS is anyways compulsory in India for every heavy vehicles so I don't know why you compare that with fire.

Traditionally Volvos / Merc / Scania all these buses are known for superior handling at higher speeds than TATA / AL since they use sophisticated suspension and their ground clearance is lesser than them. These luxury buses have cargo loading below the passenger seating in the first half of the bus and a big fuel tank and engine behind them thus if you notice even in past when some vehicle hit these luxury buses from behind the tank explodes and if a driver goes over the divider / pavement them the tank is punctured and due to sparking the tanks are engulfed immediately. There is really not much a manufacturer can do about it , we need good roads with proper signage and markings.

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Have travelled many a times in Mercedes-Benz & Isuzu super luxury buses but haven't been in any Volvo yet as Volvos aren't much prevalent here, obviously due to operator's choice.

I guess, they all would be sharing similar designs so will be commenting by assuming this.

Explosion of fuel tank might be due to its installation design as firstly they're lowly-placed & secondly they might not be adequately protected by sides by braceor bull bars built under the bus frame. This might need some ARAI analysis for its design.

Rest, security over-run system isalways there in world-class products, be it a Swift car or a Volvo bus.

One can't rule out the chance of electrical wiring tampering to install those equipments like LCD screens& other entertainment equipments which could lead to fire outbreak than fire-catching materialsor else.

But it might be a matter of chance to escape in such incidents, whosoever have some energy left in him/her tends to escape by every available/visible means.

But still this calls for a Forensic analysis into the matter both by Bus maker, Operator & Govt bodies .

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