The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 10, 2013

Union County fatality puts bus safety back in the spotlight

NEW COLUMBIA — As investigators continue to look for the cause of the early-morning Wednesday bus crash on Interstate 80, the issue of passenger bus safety is in the limelight again.
The Union County accident, which killed one and injured more than 40 others, is the second major traffic incident in less than a month involving a Greyhound bus. The other crash occurred at 4 a.m. on Sept. 14 in southwest Ohio, when a bus drove off the right side of a highway and rolled over, injuring 35 passengers.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says 64-year-old Dwayne Garrett told police at the scene of the Sept. 14 accident that he had been drinking coffee, started coughing, then lost consciousness. Garrett was later cited for operating a vehicle without reasonable control, a misdemeanor.
A spokeswoman for Greyhound said the driver of the bus that crashed in Union County was well within the federal Hours of Service requirements driving regulations of the company, which require nine hours of off-duty between shifts. This driver was “well within the requirements,” Alexandra Pedrini said.
Pedrini would not say if the bus was equipped with cameras or a black box, only saying, “anything that we can provide to authorities to assist in their investigation will be provided to local authorities.”
All inspection records on the bus are up to date, Pedrini said.
“Greyhound keeps all records on file and these will be provided to authorities upon request to aid in their investigation,” she said. 
As in any transportation sector, there are numerous things that could go wrong during a bus trip. Driver fatigue and equipment malfunction are two of the leading causes of bus crashes, said Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union. Often drivers are asked to keep up a tough schedule and often work numerous jobs to stay afloat.

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