December saw two Megabus crashes in Indiana and a third removed from service following an inspection. The company had another vehicle crash last October. The incidents are calling into question the fitness of the carrier and the safety of its fleet of buses.
If you've been following national news, you may have seen ongoing reports of a fatal bus-truck collision in California. A tractor-trailer collided with a motorcoach that was carrying about 40 high school students, and a bus window had to be kicked out for many of the students to escape. Flames engulfed the truck and the bus, and 10 people lost their lives. The tragedy underscores the need for updated safety standards for large buses.
A 1968 accident involving a drunk driver and a tour bus claimed the lives of 19 victims and prompted calls for seat belts on the commercial vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly asked the government to pass measures to protect bus passengers in the 45 years that have followed that accident. The NTSB even cited government inaction in its report following a Utah bus accident in which a rollover killed 9 people and injured 43 others. Most recently, regulations mandating the inclusion of seat belts on new buses were to be completed in September. Those regulations are still being reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the government agency responsible for overseeing the safety of truck and bus companies. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, failures by those regulators have led to multiple fatal bus crashes in recent months. NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman released a statement last week, discussing the findings of an investigation into FMCSA actions. The investigation raised questions about the effectiveness of the FMCSA in ensuring that carriers are following established safety guidelines.
Thirty-nine students were taken to area hospitals after a pickup truck disobeyed a stop sign and struck a school bus in Marseilles, Illinois. The bus accident happened just after 8 a.m. Monday morning, approximately two miles from Milton Pope School where the children attend. The accident is currently under investigation by La Salle County officials.
September is a time for new drivers to learn to interact with school buses and for all drivers to familiarize themselves with the law concerning school buses and safe driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic accidents every year. Most of the victims are between the ages of 5 and 7 and are actually outside the bus at the time of the accident. Accidents of this type are so common that the Illinois State Board of Education refers to the area around the bus as the "death zone." The problem comes from other motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and stop arm of the bus, as required by Illinois law.
Last week, a Megabus crashed into a bridge support, injuring at least 33 and killing one. Yesterday afternoon, a second Megabus accident claimed the life of a 76-year-old West Loop resident. These accidents shine a spotlight on recent efforts to improve bus safety for occupants and for everyone who shares the road with buses.
A double-decker bus was headed from Chicago to St. Louis yesterday when it struck a bridge support. The bus crash killed one woman and injured at least 33 others. According to the Illinois State Police, a tire blew out on the bus shortly before it went off the road and struck the bridge support on Interstate 55. While the full investigation will not be completed for some time, there have been no reports of driver error as of yet.
A semi truck struck the back of a coach bus, igniting a fire that covered both vehicles. The fatal accident claimed the life of the truck driver and injured 30 people on the bus, including 7 who required hospitalization. Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the early morning accident.
This week's blizzard that swept across the nation hit Chicago especially hard. Heavy snow and icy conditions on Lake Shore Drive had initially rendered it very slow although passable. But bus riders and motorists found themselves stranded after a series of crashes, including a bus accident, stopped traffic.