Resources Government Related Articles Fatal Crash Calls Attention to Driver Fatigue
Fatal Crash Calls Attention to Driver Fatigue PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Wegbreit   
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 00:00

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More needs to be done to address driver fatigue, the National Transportation Safety Board said following their determination that this was the probable cause of a 2005 truck-tractor semitrailer rollover crash involving a motorcoach that resulted in five fatalities.

According to NTSB, just before 2 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2005, the truck-tractor semitrailer departed westbound I-94 near Osseo, Wisc., and traveled along the earthen roadside before re-entering the highway, where it overturned and came to rest on its side, blocking both lanes. A minute later, a chartered motorcoach, also traveling westbound, crashed into the underside of the truck. The driver of the motorcoach and four passengers were fatally injured and 35 others received minor to serious injuries.

NTSB determined that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and had not used off-duty time to obtain sufficient sleep. While the driver of the motorcoach did not wear his required glasses at the time of the crash, NTSB spokesperson Bridget Serchak, said findings from the forthcoming report indicate that even with glasses, late-night darkness, absence of lights on the truck and the motorcoach driver’s use of low beams would have made it difficult to see the overturned truck.

As a result of the accident, the NTSB recommended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implement a plan to deploy anti-fatigue technology in commercial vehicles and develop a methodology to assess the effectiveness of motorcarrier’s fatigue management plans. The National Highway Traffic Administration should determine whether equipping commercial vehicles with active braking and electronic stability control systems will reduce commercial vehicle accidents and require these technologies if they are found to be effective, the NTSB recommended. The Safety Board also reiterated a previous call for rulemaking on adaptive cruise controls and collision warning system performance standards.

Driver fatigue has blipped on the school transportation radar several times this year.

In April, a fatal early-morning motorcoach crash promoted investigators to examine hours of service logs. That crash, also involving a high school band, killed one student.

In March, the FMCSA rejected NTSB’s recommendation that the agency require all interstate commercial drivers, including school bus and motorcoach drivers, to use electronic on-board data recorders (EBORs) and create a system to prevent tampering with traditional hours-of-service logs. Installing EBORs on vehicles owned and operated by carriers with serious histories of non-compliance, as it had proposed in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, would be an more efficient use of limited resources, the FMCSA said. The agency said it would address these issues in a final rule by the end of 2008.

In June, the FMCSA published four new studies from third-party researchers pertaining to proposed hours of service regulations for interstate commercial drivers. Regular school bus drivers were not affected.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2009 18:42