A recent report revealed that a fatal tour bus crash was caused by a fatigued driver. The accident that killed 15 passengers was mostly likely the result of a driver lacking sleep and a company that failed to proved safety oversight according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The driver had almost no sleep in the three days leading up to the March 12, 2011 accident except for a nap he took while passengers were in a Connecticut casino.
The bus was traveling at nearly 80 miles per hour when returning to New York’s Chinatown before it ran off the road, slid along a highway guardrail then crashed into the support pole for a highway sign. According to reports, the pole cut through the bus front to back, along the window, lane and peeled back the roof to its tires. There was no indication that the driver attempted to recover or steer the bus back to the highway, another sign that the driver suffered from fatigue or had fallen asleep.
The accident raises serious issues in bus and motor coach transport. This is one of many accidents involving fatigued or distracted drivers responsible for carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers every year. In addition to the 15 passengers who were killed in the crash, there were 17 others who were injured.
According to accident investigators, fatigue and speeding are a very lethal combination and can result in serious accidents and injuries. The driver pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminal negligent homicide. The driver and the company could also be held civilly liable in personal injury and wrongful death claims made by passengers and their loved ones.
Source: The Associated Press, “Fatigued driver caused deadly New York bus crash, NTSB concludes,” Joan Lowry, June 9, 2012.