In a previous post, we discussed the large-scale shutdown by federal authorities of bus companies that were violating safety regulations. Among other problems, the drivers at those bus companies were often not properly licensed and not screened for drug use regularly. There were also concerns that drivers with poor driving records and previous suspensions were behind the wheel.
One of the catalysts for the investigation was a deadly accident on 1-95, which runs along the East Coast. Recently, a report has come out that shed more light on that specific crash, which caused 15 deaths. The information released by the National Transportation Safety Board says that the driver involved in the crash was fatigued because of irregular scheduling.
Speed was also a factor in causing the bus crash. The driver was apparently going about 78 mph at the time of the accident, which was the rate that the speed limiter had been set at.
The driver had his license suspended 18 times prior to the crash and has since been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. A spokesperson for the NTSB said that states need to provide more extensive driving histories and that bus companies need to be more diligent in checking for suspensions.
The NTSB issued 16 new safety recommendations as a part of the report about this accident. One of the major recommendations is to install on-board monitoring systems that will show when a bus is being driven at an excessive speed.
The company that owned the bus at the time of the crash has since been bought by a different company which did not issue a statement in response to the NTSB report.
Source: Newsday, “NTSB blames driver fatigue, speed for fatal I-95 bus crash,” Ken Schachter, June 5, 2012