US Agency: Fatal Tour Bus Crash Shows Safety Gaps | New policies
By LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A tour bus crash that threw more than a dozen people on an isolated Utah highway in 2019, killing four Chinese tourists, highlights a lack of safety standards for roofs and windows of buses, US investigators said Thursday.
The bus crashed after the driver drifted off the road and “over-corrected” as it returned to the lane near Bryce Canyon National Park, the National Transportation Safety Board found in its final report on the accident.
All 30 people on board were injured in one way or another, a toll worsened by the roof collapsing during the crash and improper seat belt use by passengers, according to the report.
Ten people on the bus were not wearing seat belts, and some of the belted passengers wore the buckles loosely, making them less effective.
Investigators found no issues with intoxication, distraction, excessive speed, lack of sleep or driver experience. A previous report found the bus had problems starting earlier in the day, but further examination did not reveal any mechanical issues or other malfunctions.
The driver told investigators the road was “slippery” and newly paved at the time, but tests showed normal friction.
Instead, the report cited the failure of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop and publish standards for the strength of bus roofs and window glazing to prevent people from being ejected from buses when driving. ‘an accident. The road safety agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The report recommended that new utility vehicles have roofs strong enough to “provide maximum survival space” and meet glazing standards that prevent people from being ejected in accidents.
The report also recommended that new commercial buses be fitted with lane departure systems to alert drivers when they start to pull off the road.
“A lane departure prevention system could have prevented this accident from happening by keeping the bus in its lane,” said Rob Molloy, director of the NTSB’s road safety office. He also said that an electronic stability control system could have kept the vehicle more stable.
The elderly group from China were on a seven-day tour that started in Los Angeles and was scheduled to end in Salt Lake City. The bus crashed just a few miles into Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its intricately shaped red rock spiers called hoodoos.
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