The Gostivar-based transport company Durmo Tours was not among the group of risk carriers that are frequent targets of transport inspectors. The bus, which was part of the terrible traffic accident on the Skopje-Tetovo highway, was registered and passed technical inspection in early January this year. Director of the State Transport Inspectorate, Rufet Huseini, said that the carrier was inspected at least once a year, and the inspectors regularly checked its licenses and permits, but also whether the timetable and the number of passengers that were being transported were respected.
“The State Inspectorate has only 15 inspectors and the best we can do is to control every company at least once a year. However, we regularly inspect some for whom we have information from the police, border services or other institutions that work illegally. Durmo Tours was not one of those companies,” said Huseini.
The Gostivar-based company had four licenses for passenger transport, two for international and two for domestic traffic, issued by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. On the route from Skopje to Gostivar, passengers were transported for many years, and the license for transport is valid until July next year, the Ministry informed.
The speed of the Durmo Tours bus, which killed 14 people in the terrible traffic accident, as well as how many hours the driver was previously driving and how many hours he used for resting, will be revealed with the data stored in the tachograph of the vehicle. The Carrier Association Istok says that each bus has an analog or digital device that registers and stores all important travel data.
“Every carrier, in addition to the regular technical service for the vehicle, must take it to an extraordinary check for its condition every six months. Large companies like Durmo, having dozens of buses and traveling on international routes, also have their own services where they check their condition on daily basis,” says Goran Trpkovski, president of the Association.
However, it points out that there are also objective dangers on the roads that affect the safety of passenger transport on a daily basis. In particular, says Trpkovski, this applies to regional roads where very often encountered cars or agricultural machinery, construction works are being carried out or there are landslides on the road.
It explains that tachographs contain data of the bus’s speed, but also the driver’s working hours. During 24 hours, a passenger bus driver can drive for a maximum of nine hours, with a 45-minute pause. During the rest of the day, for at least nine to eleven hours, the driver must have free time for rest.