Colombia’s Minister of Transport on Tuesday announced an investigation into what went wrong with the bus that crashed on Monday leaving 27 dead and 16 injured.
“We can not keep playing with the lives of Colombians. We are not going to allow it,” said Minister Cecilia Alvarez, commenting on the fatal International Tourism Transport bus crash near the small town of Girardot, two and a half hours southwest of Bogota.
The Ministry of Transport put the investigation in the hands of the Superintendent of Ports and Transport and the Deputy Minister of Transport. In addition to determining how the accident happened, the Supertintendent and the Deputy Minister will be responsible for making preventative recommendations to lower the incidences of such tragedies.
“So far this year, the company Expreso Internacional de Turismo [International Travel Express, a subsidiary of International Tourism Transport] is being investigated for eight different transport infractions,” said the Superintendent of Ports and Transport, Juan Miguel Duran.
Duran will reportedly visit the diagnostic center in the department of Valle where the bus in question was certified. Whether the problem was a lack of technical oversight or the fault of the driver has yet to be determined. Local media have reported that the bus’s motor was not properly certified and may have even failed its review. The bus was due for inspection on Wednesday.
“This can not happen again, government policy is to reduce accidents. We have zero tolerance with this issue,” stated Alvarez.
The Ministry of Transport has been urging Congress to pass a bill that would create a National Highway Traffic Safety Agency in Colombia. In the coming days, the Ministry will also implement a series of online regulatory controls intended to ensure that vehicles are reviewed properly, preventing unscrupulous companies from evading their responsibilities.