NTSB: No Clear Cause Of Fatal Orland Bus Crash
A federal investigation into the deadly I-5 bus crash in Orland last year has yielded no clear answers as to what caused the accident, but it did bring to light several ways safety may be improved for motorcoach passengers.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a press release Tuesday that investigators were unable to determine why the driver of a southbound FedEx truck careened through the median and into oncoming traffic, striking a passenger car and then a motorcoach carrying 43 Los Angeles-area high school students on their way to tour Humboldt State. Ten people were killed in the April 10, 2014, crash, including five students, three chaperones, the driver of the motorcoach, which erupted into flames, and the driver of the truck.
The NTSB did say that they were able to rule out truck and motorcoach driver experience, licensing and training, alcohol and drug use, mechanical factors, and weather as causes of the crash. The agency also found no evidence that the driver was distracted, tired, or that he intentionally crossed into opposing traffic.
NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said at a briefing Tuesday in Washington that the investigation revealed double standards in regulations protecting motorcoach passengers versus passengers in other types of vehicles as well as inadequacies in fire standards and emergency exit design.
In response to these findings, the NTSB recommended that motorcoach interiors be designed with improved flammability requirements as well as improved emergency lighting and exit signs, and that event data recorders be installed on commercial trucks and motorcoaches.
The NTSB's safety recommendations were issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
This story has been updated.