Scania Buses Remain Under Police Scanner

Scania Buses Remain Under Police ScannerScania Buses Remain Under Police Scanner

The traffic police refusal to grant extension for registration of Scania passenger buses, which are under investigation for their safety record following a number of fatal road accidents involving the buses, has raised criticism from lawmakers, and especially the Article 90 Committee, who are demanding “clear reasons for the ban.”

The safety of the Swedish Scania buses - assembled in Iran by Oghab Afshan Company - came under question in 2013 following a fatal accident on the Qom-Tehran expressway in which two Scania passenger buses collided head-on and burst into flames almost immediately, killing 44 and injuring 39 passengers. The buses have also been blamed for several other accidents in Iran.

A probe conducted by the National Standards Organization into the technical standards of Scania buses following the mishap revealed that the buses assembled in Iran failed to comply with vehicle standards in 19 cases. Consequently, traffic police chief, Eskandar Momeni announced a temporary ban on issuing registration plates for a particular model of Scania buses “until elimination of all technical problems.”

What generated criticism by the parliament members and saw the proprietors of the company lodge a complaint with the Majlis Article 90 Committee, is that the traffic police have not provided elaborate documentation to prove that the road accident and bursting into fire of the Scania buses is related to the production line. Instead, they claim that “investigations clearly show that the changes made in the buses electrical wiring by the bus owners was responsible for the fires.”

 Ban ‘Illegal’

Hamed Rasaee, MP and member of the committee who is in charge of the case, says the ban on issuing registration plates for new Scania buses is “illegal.” The documents provided by the traffic police, Oghab Afshan Company and the ministry of industry, mine and trade “all show that the police decision is unjustified.”

Mohammadali Pourmokhtar, head of the Majlis committee, also states that the ban is unlawful. In a recent letter to the traffic police chief, he noted that the traffic police are “unauthorized to declare ban on a vehicle, once the quality and emission control approvals are obtained from the National Standards Organization and the Department of Environment respectively.”

In spite of the disapproval among the MPs and bus manufacturers regarding the extended ban on registration of new Scania buses, the traffic police seem adamant to continue the ban, blaming the technical problems of Scania buses for majority of road accidents in Iran.