Rolling Without Limits

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Are Buses in Need of a Safety Makeover?
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Are Buses in Need of a Safety Makeover?

The safety of passengers, especially those who are using wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices, should be the highest priority of transportation services and the transport department in order to prevent unwanted incidents like what happened to a woman in Toowoomba. The incident made a call for safety review regarding the safety makeover of majority of the buses.

In March 2015, an unexpected incident occurred that put pressure on the transport department of Queensland. An elderly woman in an electric mobility chair was thrown from a moving bus after the driver tried to negotiate a roundabout on the Darling Downs.

The 72-year-old’s electric wheelchair skidded across the bus’s aisle and into the door. She then landed on her head after the door swung open. She needed to spend about two months in the hospital for full recovery.

The bus incident alerted Queensland Advocacy Incorporated or QAI, a community-based and independent disability support group. It prompted the calls for compulsory restraints in major transportation services such as buses to avoid and prevent such an incident from happening again.

Michelle O’Flynn, QAI’s director, clearly emphasized the need for safety and security measures when it comes to meeting the needs of passengers who use wheelchairs and scooters. She further stated that all scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility devices should be anchored securely to the wall and floor during transportation. She also said that taxi and bus drivers should not just allow differently-abled individuals to use their wheelchairs to get into the back, instead, they should assist them and make sure that the mobility chairs are secured on the transit.

The director also pointed out that Queensland should follow what the United States has been doing when it comes to the safety of their differently-abled passengers. She suggested that the transport department must require restraints, or make it compulsory for mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

Michelle’s main message to the head of the transport department is to make public transportation accessible to everyone but it must be safe as well, especially for those who have physical limitations. And so she wanted the department to review the rules and provide solutions as well as address the issue regarding the incident that recently happened.

As for bus, taxi and other transport service drivers, they should greatly consider the needs of all their passengers. They must drive with utmost care and attention in order to avoid mishaps and accidents.

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