Safety Board Recommends Speed Limiters in Buses

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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released the findings of an investigation into the New York City bus crash that claimed 15 lives last year, according to Bloomberg News.

The board alleges the crash that happened on the way from a Connecticut casino to Chinatown in Manhattan on March 12, 2011, was likely caused by driver fatigue.

The driver had claimed a semi-trailer truck hit his bus and caused him to run off the roadway, but investigators found no evidence to support that assertion. Documents showed the driver renting a car and using his phone during the time he reported being asleep on his driving logs.

Investigators also determined that the bus was traveling 78 miles per hour in a 50 mph zone less than a minute before the accident, and if he had been driving at a slower rate, he might have been able to avoid the vehicle rolling over.

The board recommended requiring devices that limit speed in buses. Companies also should have access to driving records for the last 10 years rather than just three years, the board says.

The driver in the New York crash reportedly had 18 driver’s license suspensions on his record. Bus industry officials have complained that states only give them access to the last three years of a person’s driving record.

The board found that lap belts would have reduced the seriousness of the injuries, although it did not appear the agency recommended requiring those.

Federal regulators have gotten tougher on the fast-growing commercial bus industry. Last week, the Transportation Department shut down 26 bus companies due to alleged safety violations.

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