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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-013
Synopsis: In November 2016, the NTSB began the investigation of two crashes involving school buses. Each crash was initiated when the driver lost control of the bus. In the November 1 crash in Baltimore, Maryland, the driver was epileptic and suffered a seizure. In the November 21 crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the driver was speeding while using a cell phone and ran off the road. In both cases, the school bus operators were private for-hire motor carriers. Although the specific safety issues differed, the crashes shared one common factor: poor driver oversight by both the school districts and the contracted motor carriers, which resulted in unsafe operation of the school buses. Between the two crashes, 12 people died and 37 were injured. The crash investigations focused on the following safety issues: school districts’ lack of oversight of student transportation providers; poor management of unsafe school bus drivers by the motor carriers and school districts; medically unfit school bus drivers; commercial driver license fraud; occupant protection in large school buses; and the benefits of electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, and event data recorders. The NTSB made safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); the states of Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York; 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Puerto Rico—which lack requirements for lap/shoulder belts on large school buses; the state of Maryland; the Maryland Department of Education; the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; five school bus transportation associations; National Express LLC; seven school bus manufacturers; five electronic health record companies; and Concentra, Inc. The report also reiterates four recommendations to NHTSA and reclassifies a recommendation to the Baltimore City Public Schools.
Recommendation: TO THE MARYLAND MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION: Process all current commercial driver’s license holders through the facial recognition software system to detect those drivers who may hold fraudulent licenses.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Chattanooga, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY17MH009
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: HIGHWAY - HWY17MH009
Report #: SIR-18-02
Accident Date: 11/21/2016
Issue Date: 6/21/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration (Open - Acceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
Date: 12/10/2018
Response: We are pleased to note that the MDOT MVA is committed to extending its use of the facial recognition program beyond the 2019 expiration of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s grant funding. We encourage you to find alternate funding to allow this important technology to continue to be used without a lapse. We look forward to receiving periodic updates on your progress toward establishing the recommended program extension. Until such actions are complete, Safety Recommendation H-18-13 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: -From Christine Nizer, Administrator, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration: Background: Maryland is participating in a multi-jurisdictional facial recognition pilot program funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). From November 2017 through July 2018, MDOT MVA generated more than 16,000 leads through the program with more than 100 of those requiring additional research before being cleared. Response to recommendations: Regarding Recommendation H-18-13 and H-18-11, MDOT MVA remains fully committed to utilizing the FMCSA-funded pilot program for all relevant commercial driver’s license (CDL) transactions through the project end date of September 30, 2019. In addition, MDOT MVA recognizes the importance of facial recognition technology and is working to evaluate options after the grant period ends.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at Among the safety recommendations are three new recommendations issued to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement them. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations by number. We encourage you to submit your response to If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.