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

Port Authority CEO making review of fare enforcement policy a priority

The proposed policy would use armed policy officers to enforce fare payment.

Chicago RTA approves 5-year 'Invest in Transit' strategic plan

New regional plan sets a bold, yet practical, vision for “public transit as the core of the region’s robust transportation mobility network.”

TriMet Board names single finalist in GM search

Doug Kelsey joined the agency in 2015 and quickly improved the overall on-time performance of the transit system.

UTA's free-fare day adds 29K riders

The agency said the single-day ridership on FrontRunner commuter trains was up by 66% for a total of 30,016 boardings, while ridership on the TRAX light rail was up by 32%, for a total of 79,825 boardings.

Capital Metro selects new President/CEO

Randy Clarke has served as the VP, operations and member services, at the American Public Transportation Association since April 2016.

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

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

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