Bus Safety Rules Under Scrutiny After California Crash
Regulatory authorities are investigating ways to improve bus passenger safety following a fiery wreck that left 10 dead last Thursday.
Bus and FedEx Truck Collide on California Interstate
According ot FOX News, five students and five adults were killed last Thursday after a FedEx truck collided head-on with a tour bus carrying 44 students from Sothern California to Humboldt State University for a campus tour.
Though the accident is still under investigation, early reports indicate that the FedEx truck, which was traveling Southbound on Interstate 5, veered across the median into oncoming traffic, sideswiping a Nissan Altima before colliding with the Silverado Stages bus.
Further, investigators found that the FedEx truck left no skid marks leading up to the point of impact. By contrast, the tour bus left roughly 145 feet of tire marks suggesting that the bus driver attempted to stop the vehicle while swerving to avoid the truck.
Following impact, both the bus and the FedEx truck were engulfed in flames. Bodies recovered from the bus were charred beyond recognition – investigators have not yet been able to determine the identity of the bus driver.
Federal Regulators to Revisit Bus Safety
“The worst thing for the NTSB is to show up, knowing that we’ve issued recommendations from a previous accident where lives have been lost and find out (that) if those recommendations had been closed and enacted, lives could have been saved.” – National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind as published by FOX News
According to Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), regulators have been advocating for the requirement of seatbelts, emergency exits and fire-safety rules in buses to protect passengers for decades.
While the Silverado Stages’ bus did include seatbelts, it is currently unclear how many passengers were actually using them. Reports indicate that some passengers were found dead and thrown from the bus.
Rosekind points out that because there are no mandates requiring that the seatbelts be used, it is difficult for federal agencies and bus companies to enforce their use.
The government is also considering a mandate that would require fire-suppression systems on buses. The NTSB began calling for such measures in 2005 after 23 nursing-home evacuees died in a bus fire as they were trying to escape Hurricane Rita.
Such regulations could be passed as early as 2015.