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NTSB says fatigue was the killer in Interstate 95 bus crash

Drunk drivers, distracted drivers and reckless drivers have been responsible for causing many accidents on our North Carolina roads that have resulted in catastrophic injuries, even death. However, driver fatigue can also be dangerous and lead to a fatal car accident.

After investigating a fatal motor coach accident that occurred on Interstate 95 last year, the National Transportation Safety Board announced this month that driver fatigue was a contributing factor. Fifteen people were killed in the tragic accident and more than a dozen passengers were injured.

As many Fayetteville residents might recall, the fatal bus accident occurred on March 12, 2011. According to reports, the driver of the motor coach had been transporting dozens of passengers from a casino in Connecticut back to New York. Based on the NTSB's investigation, the bus driver had fallen asleep on the expressway while traveling nearly 80 mph. The speed limit on the highway was only 50 mph.

Federal officials said the motor coach driver had been tired after switching from night to day shifts. After the bus driver fell asleep while also traveling at excessive speeds, the bus struck a guardrail and a sign post that ripped the roof off of the motor coach. The accident happened shortly after 5:30 p.m.

In its report, the NTSB faulted the operators of the bus company, World Wide Travel, for failing to monitor and screen drivers. Investigations revealed that the bus driver, who survived the accident, had 18 previous driver's license suspensions before the fatal I-95 crash. In addition to hiring unsafe drivers, the company had failed to equip the bus with adequate safety equipment.

As a result of this accident, the NTSB wants stricter state regulations for motor coach drivers. Federal officials also want to require buses to have onboard technology that will monitor high bus speeds and reckless driving in an attempt to prevent more bus accidents and fatal accidents.

Source: Newsday, "NTSB blames driver fatigue, speed for fatal I-95 bus crash," Ken Schachter, June 5, 2012

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