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November 17 - Special Investigation Report: Transit Bus Safety
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Event Summary

Board Meeting : November 17 - Special Investigation Report: Transit Bus Safety
 
11/17/1998 12:00 AM

Introduction

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated transit bus accidents in Normandy, Missouri; Cosmopolis, Washington; New York, New York; and Nashville, Tennessee. The Normandy, New York, and Nashville accidents exposed various operational deficiencies such as unqualified drivers, drivers with hazardous medical conditions, inadequate maintenance practices, and the operation of buses with mechanical defects. The Cosmopolis accident revealed that certain laws and school transportation safety operational practices are not applicable to transit operations. Had these deficiencies been found during other types of bus operations, which fall under Federal and State government safety regulations, sanctions could have been imposed, such as assessing fines, taking the buses out of service, or suspending the company operations. However, no such Federal regulations are in place for transit buses. Of the four accident locations, only New York conducts some type of oversight of transit bus operations.

As a result of the Normandy, Missouri, accident in which four pedestrians were killed and three injured, the Safety Board held a public hearing on March 3 and 4, 1998, to determine the extent of transit bus safety oversight. During the public hearing, witnesses representing State and Federal government agencies testified, as well as representatives from several transit agencies, member service organizations, and State associations. The participants in the hearing discussed transit agency self-regulation, the extent of Federal and State safety oversight, accident data, pupil transportation, and driver selection and qualification.

The findings from the public hearing and from the accident investigations form the basis for this special investigation report, which addresses the following safety issues:

  • Federal and State safety oversight of transit bus operations,
  • adequacy of transit bus accident data to identify potential safety issues, and
  • safety program guidelines for transit operators.

 

As a result of its investigation, the Safety Board makes safety recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the American Public Transit Association (APTA),5 the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA),6 and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

Recommendations

As a result of its special investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations:

To the U.S. Department of Transportation:

Develop and implement an oversight program to assess and ensure the safety of transit bus operations that receive Federal funding. (H-98-43)

Collect accurate, timely, and sufficient data so that thorough assessments can be made relating to transit bus safety. (H-98-44)

Evaluate the collected data, as part of the oversight program, to identify the underlying causes of transit bus accidents that could lead to the identification of safety deficiencies at transit agencies. (H-98-45)

Develop, in cooperation with the American Public Transit Association, the Community Transportation Association of America, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a model comprehensive safety program(s) and provide it to all transit agencies. (H-98-46)

To the American Public Transit Association:

Develop, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Community Transportation Association of America, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a model comprehensive safety program(s). (H-98-47)

To the Community Transportation Association of America:

Develop, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American Public Transit Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a model comprehensive safety program(s). (H-98-48)

To the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials:

Develop, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American Public Transit Association, and the Community Transportation Association of America, a model comprehensive safety program(s). (H-98-49)


 


 

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