Dubai bus crash: Barrier installed in wrong spot, says lawyer
Dubai - Based on the prosecution's investigation, warning signals were located 342 metres from the crash site.
The lawyer of the Omani bus driver - who is accused of causing the crash that left 17 people dead - argued that the height restriction barrier that tore through the vehicle violated GCC guidelines and standards.
Defence lawyer Mohammed Saif Al Tamimi told the traffic prosecution that the barrier was inappropriately installed and did not meet certain requirements.
"The GCC guideline stated that if a road's speed limit is 60kph, the distance between a warning signboard and a height restriction barrier should be 60 metres," Al Tamimi told the court.
At the accident site, however, the distance was just 12 metres, he said. He also pointed out that according to the standards, the barrier should have been "mobile and made of concrete or other materials, but not steel".
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The defence team proposed that the court assign a team of experts from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to evaluate the crash site and map out the positions of the warning signs and the barrier.
Based on the prosecution's investigation, warning signals were located 342 metres from the crash site, indicating the right lanes and height requirements for all vehicles.
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In addition, two big sign boards were put up to remind motorists to stick to the appropriate lanes, according to the probe. One of the boards is located 317 metres from the site, while the other is found just before the barrier.
The 53-year-old defendant has been accused of causing the death of 17 people on the bus that travelled from Muscat to Dubai on June 6. Just a few minutes before it was supposed to reach its stop, the bus rammed into the road height restriction barrier that ripped through the left side of the vehicle. Fifteen passengers were killed on the spot and two more died later.
While technical reports cited by the traffic prosecution indicated that the defendant was driving at a speed of 94kph - more than twice the limit of 40kph - the lawyer argued that there wasn't enough evidence to support the claim.
Al Tamimi also said the "brightness of the sun" at the time of the incident made it difficult for his client to see the warning signals and the metal barrier.
The trial was adjourned to July 11 for the judgement.