NTSB Finds Fatal New York Bus Accident Caused by Driver Fatigue

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Sep 7, 2023

After a night at the casino, a group of people loaded on a curbside tour bus and headed back to New York’s Chinatown via Interstate 95. At 5:38 a.m. on the morning of March 12, 2011, the trip came to an abrupt end. The bus veered off the road and along a highway guardrail before toppling over and crashing into a highway sign support pole. The motor coach accident claimed the lives of 15 passengers and injured 17 others. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation of the accident and released its findings on June 5, 2012. In a unanimous vote, the NTSB found the cause of the deadly New York bus crash was driver fatigue. During the investigation, the NTSB discovered the motor coach driver had no sleep in the three days prior to the accident except for naps he took on the bus while his passengers were gambling in the casino. At the time of the accident, the driver was cruising at 78 miles per hour in a 50-miles-per-hour zone. Crash evidence indicates the driver made no attempt to apply the brake or even to steer the bus back onto the road when it hit the guardrail. Investigators believed his performance was indicative of driver fatigue. According to the NTSB, driver fatigue is a leading cause in motor coach accidents. In fact, bus driver fatigue was a factor in more than 30 percent of motor coach accidents the Board has investigated. The motor coach industry is a major player in moving passengers from place to place. Estimates indicated more than 700 million passengers travel via bus each year, a number that rivals domestic airline travel. To protect these millions of passengers and to prevent additional injury-causing or fatal bus crashes, the NTSB has made recommendations to increase safety protocols, including expanded driving record checks and required speed limiting devices. Source: Syracuse.com “NTSB: Fatigued driver caused deadly New York bus crash," June 5, 2012.

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