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Driver of bus involved in Yamuna Expressway accident likely fell asleep behind wheel: official – India Today

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The driver of the bus that veered off the Yamuna Expressway and plunged into a deep drain, killing 29 people, probably fell asleep when the vehicle was at high speed, an official said Tuesday, even as a committee was investigating the reasons behind accident.

“Some passengers who survived the early-morning crash told officials that the driver had probably dozed off, as it is generally the time when one tends to feel sleepy,” Agra Additional District Magistrate (Administration) Nidhi Srivastava told PTI when contacted.

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“Most of the passengers were sleeping when the accident happened. Hence, they do not know the actual reason,” she said.

The ADM said the survivors could only recall that the bus suddenly flung into the air with a loud bang and they found themselves in water.

A committee constituted to probe the accident early Monday was preparing its report and is likely to submit it by tomorrow. It was tasked to investigate the reasons within 24 hours.

The panel was also asked to suggest long-term measures to avoid such accidents in future, according to Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Avanish Awasthi.

Twenty-nine people were killed and 18 injured in the accident near Etmadpur, about 200 km from Delhi. The bus, coming from Lucknow and heading towards the national capital, had 50 passengers at the time of the accident.

Road safety experts have warned travellers on the dangers of over speeding on the six-lane 165-km expressway, especially during early-morning hours and night.

The expressway, linking Noida on Delhi’s outskirts with Agra, frequently remains in the news because of accidents, most of them due to over speeding or drivers dozing off behind the wheel.

This year alone, at least 77 people have died in accidents on the expressway, according to data accessed by NGO SaveLIFE Foundation through RTI.

The NGO said 703 lives were lost in 4,880 accidents between August 2012, when the expressway was opened for commercial operations, and January last year.

Built at a cost of Rs 12,839 crore, the expressway in western Uttar Pradesh is managed by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA). However, the six-lane high-speed corridor has been severely criticised for its poor safety parameters and also because of the high number of accidents and deaths.

The YEDIA has identified three “black spots” on the stretch between Greater Noida and Agra where rumble strips have been created to keep the driver awake in case they get drowsy.

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