Bluffton bus crash blamed on signage
March 2, 2007, accident killed five baseball players, driver and his wife.by National Transportation Safety Board News
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on July 8 determined that the probable cause of a crash that occurred on an elevated highway ramp in Atlanta was the motorcoach driver’s mistaking an Interstate high occupancy vehicle-only left exit ramp for an HOV through lane. Contributing to the driver’s mistake was the failure of the Georgia Department of Transportation to install adequate traffic control devices to identify and distinguish the two different HOV lanes. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the motorcoach’s lack of an adequate occupant protection system.
“This accident,” said Mark V. Rosenker, NTSB chairman, “demonstrates the need for clear and consistent highway signage and traffic devices across the U.S. interstate system in order to provide reliable guidance to all motorists on our nation’s highways. In addition, the NTSB continues to call for a motorcoach passenger protection system which could reduce the number of fatalities and the severity of injuries suffered in accidents like this one in Atlanta.”
On March 2, 2007, a 57-passenger motorcoach operated by Executive Coach Luxury Travel, Inc., transporting 33 members of the Bluffton (Ohio) University baseball team, exited the HOV lane of Interstate 75 in Atlanta, entered an intersection on an overpass, overrode a bridge wall and fell 19 feet onto the southbound lanes of the Interstate. Seven occupants were killed: the driver, the driver’s wife and five passengers. Seven other motorcoach passengers received serious injuries, and 21 passengers received minor injuries.
As a result of its investigation, the NTSB made five recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration regarding the uniformity of specific requirements, standards and criteria in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The NTSB also made five recommendations to the Georgia Department of Transportation regarding signage improvements. The Board also reiterated four previous recommendations made in 1999 to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the need for improved motorcoach occupant protection systems and the installation of on-board systems that record vehicle parameters and crash data.—NTSB News
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