The driver was obviously extremely tired, but refused a longer break and drove in the rain and in the dark.
A driver of a bus traveling from Sunny Beach to Sofia of the Union Ivkoni company was fired after falling asleep at the wheel, endangering the lives of nearly 50 passengers. The story was told by BNT, and according to eyewitnesses, the bus went to the guardrail twice.
The carrier company announced that the driver was fired and apologized to the passengers, national television added.
“The most nightmarish moment for me was the second stagger to the guardrail on the right. There was such panic on the bus, everyone was screaming hysterically: Stop, stop immediately at the first gas station. He refused to stop,” said Eleonora Hristozova, one of the passengers on the bus, Wednesday night.
However, the driver stopped briefly at a gas station, where a young family chose to get off and look for another way to return to Sofia. According to Eleonora Hristozova, the driver was obviously extremely tired, but refused a longer break and continued to the capital in the conditions of heavy rain.
Valeri Georgiev is another passenger on the bus, who sat next to the driver and talked to him all the time so that he would not fall asleep again.
“However, at times he started to lose control. I myself was quite scared to see this. We did what we could,” Georgiev told BNT.
There was no second driver, as required by law for the bus, the passengers claim, although according to documents of the carrier – Union Ivkoni – this is not the case.
It is also remarkable that the same driver leaves again at 05:30 in the morning back to Sunny Beach with the same bus.
According to BNT, the bus was checked the next morning. The inspection shows that there were two drivers on the way back. During the inspection, which took place after Stara Zagora, the bus was driven by another driver, different from the one who left Sofia.
The driver of the bus has been fired, but according to the manager of Union Ivkoni, he will start working in another company tomorrow.
“I can’t say that the lady’s signal is unfounded, as we strive to be entirely in favor of our passengers, so I can say that all passengers on the bus in question will be compensated,” said the manager of Union Ivkoni.
The compensation can be made in the offices of the carrier company against a presented ticket.
According to a representative of the branch union, the drivers traveling to the sea and back do not have to be two. The statutory time for bus drivers traveling alone is within 15 hours, between 13 and 15 hours.
“This is Regulation 561 of the European Union and, respectively, the agreement that is written for the work of drivers and crews. When this driver travels in a team with another driver, the working day of these people automatically becomes 21 hours. Within these 15 and 21, the driver has the right to drive for 9 hours in one case or the other – that is, when there are two drivers, they drive the bus for 9 hours. Twice a week they have the right to drive for 10 hours. This is allowed under these regulations.” says Miltenova.
She added that every 4 and a half hours the driver is obliged to take a 45-minute break. In the other case, he is obliged to take two breaks – one to be 15 minutes and the other – 30 minutes. Holidays are regulated in the route schedules.
“The driver in question, who was traveling that day, practically did not exceed his working day of 3 pm. He left Sunny Beach at 17:15 in the evening. The next day at 07:15 or 07:20 he was changed in Plovdiv. That is why he also traveled to the next course in the morning,” Miltenova added.
However, Diana Rusinova from the European Center for Transport Policies called the case another shocking example of “the total lack of control in our country.” According to her, it was right for the passengers to call 112.