Management & Operations

Fed oversight questioned during NTSB bus fire hearings

Posted on October 18, 2006

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials investigating a Sept. 23, 2005, motorcoach fire in Wilmer, Texas, that killed 23 nursing home patients were told by investigators that the U.S. government has failed to make sure charter buses are safe to ride and that the five-pound fire extinguishers currently being used on motorcoaches cannot put out tire fires.

The testimony was part of the NTSB’s ongoing investigation into the cause of a fire on a bus carrying 44 passengers plus a driver during the evacuation of elderly nursing home residents fleeing Hurricane Rita.

Testimony given from state and federal officials pointed out that the now-defunct bus company, Global Limo Inc. of Pharr, Texas, had several safety violations, including false logs and maintenance failures.

The apparent lack of federal oversight of motorcoach companies alarmed healthcare organizations that help evacuate disabled people, as well as NTSB officials. Hearing chairman Kitty Higgins pointed out that the bus company, which was founded in the 1980s, was first reviewed for safety problems some 24 years after beginning operations.

An overheated wheel bearing in the rear wheel well is believed to have been the cause of the fire, which investigators feel eventually led to flames engulfing the bus before finally causing oxygen canisters — nearly one for every patient on board — to explode.

Two bystanders and a police officer, who tried to help evacuate the 44 passengers, testified that within minutes the smoke went from thin and gray to thick and heavy before the oxygen canisters exploded and they were forced to give up.

William Quade, director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Office of Safety Programs, said that the FMCSA is working with limited resources to improve its safety oversight.

He also added that there are 3,600 interstate motorcoach companies that operate 32,000 buses, and that federal or state regulators inspected 17,000 of those buses, up from 12,000 the year before.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Fla.'s HART to develop autonomous circulator route

The project would be one of the first of its kind in the U.S. utilizing autonomous technology and has the potential to become a genuine problem solver, according to FDOT and HART.

CTA's 2017 budget includes no fare increases, service cuts for 8th year

Long-term deals on fuel and increased non-fare revenue have helped CTA cope with reduced funding from the state and a decline in ridership, which fell to just under 500 million in 2016.

SORTA to sell advertising to pay for bus benches

In a separate ordinance, the city agreed to stop removing currently illegal benches at some stops unless they are unsafe.

Future for connected cars is promising, obstacles remain: study

Obstacles include privacy and security concerns, to a lack of infrastructure and the need for a legislative framework.

Caltrain begins courtesy campaign via social media

The campaign, called “Caltrain Manners,” is the result of a recent online survey, where passengers were asked what annoyed them most about their fellow riders. Caltrain tallied the results to determine the three worst passenger gaffes.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close