NTSB Urges Federal Regulators to Step Up Bus Safety

Bastrop, LA – In a report released Monday, November 13, 2017, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) said federal regulators should take steps to keep fatigued truck bus drivers off the road. The recommendation follows an investigation of a 2016 tour bus accident that killed thirteen people.

FMCSA Should Review Hours-of-Service Regulations for Passenger-Carrying Buses

The NTSB urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop regulations that would prevent bus accidents caused by drowsy and fatigued operators. NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said the FMCSA should “move more aggressively” to keep unsafe transportation companies and drivers off the roadways.

The recommendation follows the investigation into a fatal 2016 tour bus crash in Palm Springs, California. Investigators for the safety agency blamed the accident on a tractor-trailer driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel while the truck was stopped. A tour bus traveling at a highway speed rammed into the rear of the tractor-trailer.

Thirteen people, including the bus driver, died in the horrific crash.

Another bus crash close to Livingston, California killed four people when the bus driver drifted out of his lane and crashed into a roadway barrier and signpost. The signpost tore through almost the entire length of the bus.

According to the NTSB, the bus driver, who was seriously injured had just five hours of sleep in 40 hours before the accident. They blamed the crash on “acute sleep loss,” noting that the driver did not attempt to brake before hitting the signpost.

The NTSB also blamed the crash on the tour bus owner, Autobuses Coordinados, stating they had a history of safety violations and failed 29 federal inspections over two years. For perspective, the report noted that the out-of-service rating for Autobuses Coordinados was 38 percent, significantly higher than the 8 percent average rating for the bus companies nationally.

The NTSB said drowsy driving was responsible for two other deadly bus crashes, both of which occurred in 2011. One accident in New York killed 15 and another in Virginia that killed four.

Considering the crashes mentioned above, the NTSB recommended regulations that will improve the safety of passenger carriers and trucking companies. One suggestion for the FMCSA is to develop hours-of-service rules for bus operators who work during late night hours when drivers are more likely to be fatigued.

The NTSB also recommended the agency change its rating system for bus carriers to make sure unsafe operators are taken out of service.

Speak to a Bus Accident Lawyer in Bastrop

If you are injured in a bus crash in Bastrop, Louisiana, USAttorneys encourages you to speak with one of the bus accident lawyers at the Russ Downs Law Firm. Bus companies have legal teams to protect their interests; you need someone to defend yours. Hiring one of the attorneys at the Downs Law Firm will ensure your case is a success. You can reach their Bastrop office by calling 1-888-771-9800.