NTSB: Driver distraction cause of fatal bus crash

June 24, 2010

A final report from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates driver distraction was the cause of a fatal 2009 bus crash in Arizona.

According to the report, on Jan. 30, 2009, a 29-passenger bus operated by DW Tour and Charter carrying 16 passengers and the driver crashed on U.S. Highway 93. The driver was distracted "by his manipulation of the driver's side door" as he was traveling about 70 mph on a divided highway. The vehicle drifted out of its lane, so the driver made an abrupt steering maneuver to correct it but lost directional control. The bus came to rest on the southbound side of a four-lane divided highway after it veered out of its northbound lane, crossed the median and rolled over. Seven passengers were killed, and nine passengers and the driver sustained injuries.

NTSB said one factor that contributed to the crash was the lack of a lane departure warning system. Commercial motor vehicles exceeding 10,000 pounds should be outfitted with a lane departure warning system and a stability control system, according to recommendations made by NTSB to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.