Bus drivers work in poor conditions, report after fatal 947 crash claims

In 2019, the number of fatalities caused by accidents involving buses increased by 6%, with 35 people killed.

An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Just over two weeks after a bus traveling from Jerusalem to Haifa crashed killing four and injuring 14, a report released by Channel 12 on Tuesday claimed that Israeli bus drivers often work without respecting the requirements of the law in terms of mandatory breaks and rest.
According to public transportation regulations, a driver is required to rest for at least half an hour every four hours of driving. If they intend to work for more than nine hours, they must rest for a full hour between the sixth and ninth hour.
Channel 12 stated that it managed to acquire the data from four tachographs – devices that register information about driving time, speed and distance – recording the activity of bus drivers in Jerusalem during four different days in the past year.
The data revealed that in two instances, drivers of the Egged company did not take any breaks during their shift, while in two other cases, drivers both from Egged and Superbus took a pause shorter than 15 minutes, considered insufficient to rest, eat and use the restroom.
"Drivers come to a situation that they drive nonstop for almost 12 hours and fall asleep at the wheel," said Amar Abu Seaman, a bus driver at Egged and a representative for the organization Power for Workers.
"We have tried to turn to the safety officer and nothing has helped. You get so nervous and stressed that it affects the passengers. At the level of fatigue of our drivers, the next accident that will claim a human life seems just around the corner. I'm scared," he added.
The report stated that in the past, the legal and criminal responsibility for breaking traffic regulations rested solely on the drivers, but on December 13, the Transportation Ministry approved new rules that impose liability on both company owners and safety officers. Company safety officers are required to regularly check the tachographs of all drivers.
In 2019, the number of fatalities caused by accidents involving buses increased by 6%, with 35 people killed.
Both Egged and Superbus responded to the report stating that they could not comment on the specific cases because Channel 12 would not share with them the details of the cases revealed by their investigation, and that they operate according to the regulations.


Tags egged bus