Motorcoach

Bus co., feds blamed for 2011 Va. crash

Posted on July 31, 2012

A severely fatigued motorcoach driver who lost control of the vehicle, the failure of Sky Express Inc. to manage safe driving practices and a lack of adequate regulatory oversight was the probable cause of a fatal motorcoach crash in Doswell, Va., last May, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.

On May 31, 2011, at about 4:55 a.m., a 2000 Setra motorcoach, operated by Sky Express Inc., was traveling northbound on Interstate 95 en route from Greensboro, N.C. to New York when it crossed the rumble strips and traveled onto the right shoulder, striking a cable barrier and overturning onto its roof. Four of the 58 passengers were killed and 49 others were injured.

“This crash should never have happened,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It was entirely preventable. Those travelers were failed at three levels: by the driver, the operator and the regulator.”

An examination of the driver's work schedule, sleep times and cellphone use revealed that his opportunity for sleep in the 72 hours prior to the crash was limited, resulting in what the NTSB described as "acute sleep loss, poor sleep quality and circadian disruption.”

The NTSB found that Sky Express Inc. management failed to follow adequate safety practices and exercise safety oversight of the driver. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was cited as contributing to the accident because of its lax safety oversight of Sky Express Inc. and its repeated failure to enforce federal safety regulations against the company. This failure resulted in Sky Express Inc. continuing its operations despite the existence of serious safety issues. Sky Express Inc. was only operating at the time of the crash because of an additional temporary extension granted to the company by the FMCSA. The agency removed the carrier’s operating authority after the accident.

Hersman added, “You have to ask why an overburdened regulator, like FMCSA, with resources to conduct compliance reviews on only 2% to 3% of operators each year, would visit the same operator year after year? And even more to the point, given all the reviews, that identified a myriad of safety deficiencies, why was Sky Express still operating?”

As a result of its 13-month-long investigation, the NTSB made three new safety recommendations to FMCSA and also reiterated and reclassified previous recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at http://go.usa.gov/GxJ. The full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

For additional reporting from the Richmond Times Dispatch, click here.

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

More News

Vandalia Bus Lines named Motorcoach Operator of the Year

The annual award given by METRO Magazine was presented to Dennis Streif, his mother Judy and son Phillip at this year's UMA Expo in Atlanta.

Spanish-based Irizar introduces new motorcoach to the U.S. market

The i6 models on display this week at UMA Expo in Atlanta are available in a height of either 12.23 or 12.89 ft. and have been fully developed to the needs of North American operators, complying with all U.S. DOT requirements and manufactured entirely in the European Union.

American Seating unveiling new Wayfarer prototype at UMA Expo 2016

This year, American Seating is developing a new back option for Wayfarer focused on the private tour and charter market, and will exhibit this Wayfarer-TC prototype at the 2016 UMA Expo.

MCI bringing its reliability-driven vehicles and more to UMA Expo 2016

Will showcase two new 2016 J4500 coaches with a tighter-turning independent front suspension system, new two-door Setra S 417 Top Class and more.

CH Bus Sales delivers 3 Temsa TS 30s to Guam

Turtle Tours’ 36 passenger TS 30 coaches have enhanced features, such as 110-volt plugs and an elite REI audio/video system with three 15-inch monitors.

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