After the freeway bus crash that killed 33 people, the working conditions of bus drivers have come into focus. There is speculation that the bus driver's long working hours were a factor in the crash. (On Feb. 16/Yesterday) the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that starting immediately they would conduct joint inspections of each and every travel company, chartered bus service and transport company throughout Taiwan. The inspection will first focus on companies who repeatedly violated regulations, and have had poor evaluations in the past.
==KUO KUO-WEN Deputy Minister of Labor==
From today we will undertake comprehensive inspection of all companies.
The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that starting immediately they would conduct joint inspections of each and every travel company and coach and transport company throughout Taiwan. They particularly emphasized the fact that all companies would come under scrutiny.
==CHEN YAN-PO Dir-Gen. MOTC DGH==
We will start our inspection with the class C and D coaches. The points we will be inspecting include the work assignment list, the rental contract, the black box recorder and so on. There are 51 class C coach companies and 21 class D coach companies.
According to work regulations for drivers, passenger vehicle company drivers should not drive for over 10 hours a day and after driving continuously for 4 hours they should rest for 30 minutes. However, the 10 hours means the actual time that they are behind the wheel. Thus the period during which passengers disembark from the vehicle and the driver is on standby, is not counted. Under Ministry of Labor regulations, standby, prior preparation and post-cleaning of the coach is included in the length of working hours, which may not exceed 12 hours. This has been criticised as a discrepancy in the definition of working hours, but the MOL says that in fact, both should be met.
==LIU CHUAN-MING Dir. MOL Occupational Health and Safety Div. ==
Standby and rest during work, as well as preparatory work, are all periods when the worker not free to do anything else. These are all items that are covered by payment in the contract, they are all work. The Standard Labor Act set work periods for drivers is all be the same as the labor standards for passenger vehicle industry drivers.
Regarding suggestions that there should be two drivers to avoid fatigue, the Directorate General of Highways said that it would make relevant arrangements or have substitute drivers. The MOL believes that more consideration is needed to evaluate if having two drivers really does overcome issues of driver fatigue. The joint inspection will start on April 20 and any substandard companies will incur serious penalties.
TRANSLATED BY：CLARE LEAR
記者 曹晏郡 蔣龍祥 台北報導
INSPECTION OF COACH DRIVERS' WORKING CONDITIONS|遊覽車超時駕駛狀況 即日起全台稽查
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