Federal agencies Bus/limo/taxi Trucking Transportation

NTSB offers recommendations after investigation of 2016 fatigue-related crash


Washington – The National Transportation Safety Board made several recommendations to state and federal agencies, industry associations and other entities after concluding its investigation of an October 2016 multi-fatality crash in California.

According to NTSB’s report, a passenger bus traveling at highway speed rear-ended a stationary semitrailer, killing the bus driver and 12 passengers. The semitrailer had been stopped as part of a traffic control tactic (to assist utility work) and, during the wait for traffic to resume, the semitrailer driver fell asleep and did not restart driving once traffic was allowed to continue.

NTSB concluded that the probable causes included California’s Department of Transportation’s faulty traffic management plan (the semitrailer’s lack of movement was not detected), the semitrailer driver’s undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea and the fatigued bus driver’s lack of evasive action.

Safety recommendations included:

  • To the Federal Highway Administration – Revisit traffic break practices with states, and develop recommended guidance for traffic breaks using American Traffic Safety Services Association guidance, with emphasis on providing drivers with advance notice of slowed or stopped traffic, and monitoring the formation and dispersal of traffic queues.
  • To the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – Ease access of the 2016 Medical Review Board/Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee recommendations on screening for OSA for certified medical examiners, and instruct examiners to use them as guidance when evaluating commercial drivers for OSA risk. Also, give clear and “readily searchable” guidance for certified medical examiners to use when assessing commercial motor vehicle drivers who are not known to have diabetes but have glucose in their urine.
  • To the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance – Use the crash information to remind members to maximize the use of driver-monitoring systems to help drivers comply with safety regulations.
  • To the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association – Use the crash information to remind members of safe temporary road closure procedures.
  • To Tri-State Collision LLC (the owner of the semitrailer) – Use all data from driver-monitoring systems to ensure drivers follow safety regulations (the driver had violated hours-of-service regulations for several days before the crash).

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