After an exhaustive 15-month investigation, investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have determined that significant missteps in the design and handling of a Silverado Stages bus line lead to a fatal accident last year. As reported by the LA Times, the collision occurred in April of 2014 on Interstate 5 near Orland, when a Fed-Ex truck crossed the median and slammed head-on with the bus and caught fire. The bus riders were students traveling to Humboldt State University in northern California. The accident killed 10 individuals, including the bus driver, and seriously injured another 35 passengers.
While investigators have been unable to determine what caused the Fed-Ex driver to cross the road and cause the accident, officials from the NTSB believe that substandard materials in the bus and outdated safety procedures contributed to the deaths of those on board.
The NTSB revealed its findings at a board meeting in Washington, DC earlier this month and concluded that a lack of any onboard recording device severely hampered the investigation. However, NTSB investigators found that despite the Fed-Ex truck being the responsible party for the collision, the coach bus liner bears some of the responsibility for those deaths.
“Because of the design of the buses egress systems, passengers were unable to get out,” stated Robert Molloy, an NTSB investigator. It was also discovered that flammability requirements on the bus fell well below acceptable standards, as did the pre-trip safety briefings. During the hearing, NTSB chairman Christopher Hart stated that his agency will “repeat our urgent message to regulators to take appropriate action to give more passengers a better chance of walking away from any such crash in the future.”
In addition, the NTSB could find no overwhelming proof that the Fed-Ex driver involved in the crash was either impaired or suffering from a medical emergency when the collision occurred.
Unfortunately, while there is no undoing the terrible damage suffered by surviving family members and friends, with the proper representation, those who have been victimized in a bus accident may be able to take legal action. For more information, contact Kahn Roven, LLP today and schedule a free consultation.