In March 2011, a bus crashed in the New York City borough the Bronx. The crash killed 15 people and injured 7. It was carrying 32 passengers.
Almost one year later, investigators concluded that the driver had gotten no significant sleep during the three days leading up to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that fatigue and speed were the main factors that caused the bus to crash.
Investigators pulled the driver’s cell phone records on the days leading up to the crash and found he had been talking almost non-stop on his cell phone instead of getting rest. He was also found to have rented a car and was driving around New York City instead of sleeping.
Speed was another factor that contributed to the crash. Investigators stated that if the driver had slept before his shift the crash could have been avoided. The speed at the time of the crash was 78 miles per hour which is as fast as the bus could go. It was travelling at a speed of 64 miles per hour when it ran into the guardrail on Interstate 95. The bus hit the guardrail twice then rolled over. Passengers on the bus state that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. The driver, however, states he lost control after he was cut-off by a truck. After the crash, the driver was minimally injured but was charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide. He pled not guilty and is currently serving at Riker’s Island.
The dangerous combination of sleep and speed proved fatal for many of the passengers that day. The company that employed the driver was found to have kept inaccurate logs of his driving activity. After the horrific accident investigators looked into several low-budget bus lines and ended up shutting down 26 of them. Alarmingly, some of the drivers of the closed companies did not have valid licenses.
It was found that the driver of the bus had his license suspended 8 times and was fired from the Metropolitan Transit Authority as well as a private bus company before getting a job with World Wide Travel.
Investigators stated that more people could have survived if the bus had seatbelts or harnesses. The Bronx bus crash was a string of many last Spring and bus safety has become a rising concern in transportation today.