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Investigators say driver fatigue caused fatal bus accident

Car accidents which cause severe injuries and fatalities are tragic events. Bus accidents, where the vehicle has the propensity to carry many times more people than a car, can be catastrophic and heartbreaking. This is one way to describe a bus accident that occurred on the East Coast last year.

A tour bus traveling from a Connecticut casino crashed last year when the driver lost control. The bus, which was traveling 78 miles per hour in a 50 mph speed zone, slammed into a highway rail, tipped over and smashed into a support pole for a highway sign. The pole slashed into the bus, carving off the entire roof. Several passengers were severely injured and 17 were killed.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board recently concluded that the bus driver was at fault due to severe fatigue. The safety board found that the bus driver, who was carrying passengers overnight for three days in a row, did not sleep or had slept very little during the daytime hours in which he was not working. The driver recently pleaded not guilty to charges associated with the accident. Phone and driving records obtained from the driver demonstrate that his cell phone and auto use during his time off in those three previous days was constant, permitting for almost no time to sleep.

It is likely that many civil suits were or are being brought against the driver, in addition to the criminal trial, which will be occurring shortly. The collision cost many lives and certainly caused substantial medical expenses and loss of wages to the many people who were injured.

Source: The Washington Post, "NTSB: Fatigued driver caused deadly NY tour bus crash, bus company also to blame," June 5, 2012

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