Law to remove deadly buses from Peru highways

Peru’s Congress has passed a law prohibiting the use of the country’s infamous ¨bus-trucks.¨

In a 77–10 vote, lawmakers also outlawed the future manufacture of the makeshift buses, which are grafted onto the chassis of flatbed trucks. Violators of the law could face up to 20 years in prison for crimes against public safety.

According to the Transportation and Communication Ministry, bus-truck passengers are almost three times more likely to be killed in an accident than passengers in unaltered buses. But according to lawmakers Yonhy Lescano and Lourdes Alcorta, who voted against the legislation, the accidents are caused by human negligence rather than defects in their structural design.

This isn’t the first time the bus-trucks were prohibited. In 2002, transportation companies found loopholes to keep them on the road after they were outlawed. The vice-president of Peru’s Centre for Investigation of Overland Transport, Lino de la Barrera, told The Associated Press in 2006 that ¨the issue is strictly economic. To buy an old truck chassis and build this bus can cost you $40,000 to $58,000. A bus with these characteristics bought new from the factory will cost you $288,000.¨

The new law will try to offset the economic difference by providing financial incentives to transportation companies to discard the estimated 500 bus-trucks in the country. The Transportation and Communication Ministry will reportedly have access to $5,300,000 for this purpose.

According to the Transportation and Communication Ministry, there were 36 bus-truck accidents between January 2005 and February 2006 resulting in 140 deaths and 517 injuries. The majority of bus-trucks are allegedly in the southern Puno and Arequipa departments.

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