Federal officials in various transportation-related agencies are looking into ways to reduce injuries and death in bus wrecks this week. This is in the wake of a fiery crash that killed 10 in northern California, where a FedEx big rig slammed into a bus that was carrying dozens of high school students.
Last Thursday, the FedEx driver swerved across the I-5 median near Orland, CA, glanced off of a sedan, and smashed head on into the bus. There were no tire marks, indicating that the brakes were not used. Dozens of students fled for their lives from the burning wreck through the windows. Then, both vehicles exploded in flames.
The driver of the sedan told the feds on the scene that the truck was on fire before the crash. However, the National Transportation Safety Board has not yet found any evidence to indicate that this was the case.
The bus carried 45 students from southern California, who were going to visit Humboldt State University. Many of them were disadvantaged youth, some of whom would have been the first in their families to attend college. Five students, both drivers and three adult chaperones died.
The NTSB has long been calling for better rules on buses, including seat belts, emergency exits and more fire safety precautions.
The federal investigation into the wreck will look at possible lessons can be learned from the voluntary actions that have been taken by the company that owns the bus – Silverado Stages. That company has a strong safety record, even though its bus was destroyed in the wreck.
Under a new rule, all new large buses will have to have three point seat belts by November 2016. The Silverado Stages bus was made in 2014, and had seatbelts. Still, passengers were found dead and thrown from the bus.