Lives could have been lost if not for the quick thinking of the driver of an express bus that rammed into 10 vehicles near the Menora Tunnel on the North-South Expressway here on Sunday.

Zakaria Ahmad, the co-driver to the 51-year-old driver being remanded over the 2.45pm incident at the 265.8km mark of the southbound lane, said the outcome could have been a lot worse had he steered to the side of the expressway.

“The brakes were not working. As it is very dangerous to pull the handbrake in such a situation, all he could do to slow down the vehicle was to drop gears.

“It was extremely tough to slow it down, given the weight of the bus and that it was coming down a slope at the time,” Zakaria told reporters outside the district police station here yesterday.

Zakaria said the suspect, a temporary driver for the bus company, managed to avert a catastrophe by driving in between the other cars.

“He saved all of us,” he said, adding that the driver frantically sounded the horn to warn other motorists.

Zakaria, 50, who had driven from Kuala Lumpur to Penang the night before, said the suspect was well rested prior to taking over the wheels for the journey back to Kuala Lumpur on the day of the incident.

“We checked the bus prior to our journey. All the systems were good,” Zakaria added.

According to the police, the bus driver had nine outstanding traffic summonses issued between 2011 and last year, while the bus was issued with a total of 63 traffic summonses. Police have obtained a four-day remand order against the driver, who is being investigated for reckless driving under Section 42(1) of the Road Transport Act.

Perak Traffic chief Supt Wan Jamil Wan Chik said the suspect tested negative for drugs.

Ipoh OCPD Assistant Commi-ssioner Sum Chang Keong also confirmed that the brakes on the vehicle were faulty.

-The Star Online-

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