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Horrible Bus-Semi Accident Illustrates Federal Agencys Investigative Process

Wednesday, December 14, 2016By Richard Alexander

The horrific bus-semi crash near Desert Hot Springs earlier this year shines a spotlight on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigative “go team” process.

In late October, a bus carrying passengers from the Red Earth Casino plowed into the back of a tractor-trailer that was moving slowly due to utility work. The bus lodged itself 15 feet into the trailer, and it took emergency crews two hours to separate the vehicles. Thirteen people were killed, including the driver of the bus, and 31 were injured.

The bus driver was also the owner of the company, USA Holiday. California Highway Patrol records showed that the company “had been deemed unsatisfactory on several levels in the past,” including a driver having “received an ‘unsatisfactory’ rating overall and in relation to ‘controlled substance and alcohol testing results.’”

Shortly after the crash, the NTSB announced that it was compiling a “go team” to investigate the accident. The NTSB’s main purpose, since its creation in 1967, is “to conduct independent investigations” of transportation accidents, including major highway crashes such as the October bus-semi crash.

Go-teams are composed of experts in different areas, depending on the nature of the crash. For example, they might include weather experts, highway engineers, and mechanical experts. The go-team visits the scene of the crash, reporting out to the public at least once each day it is on site. Only confirmed information is released. The team stays on the site as long as is necessary, “from a few days to several weeks.”

Later, the team assembles a report that details the circumstances surrounding the crash. The full Board may hold a public hearing about the accident. After the Board reviews and adopts the draft report, a summary is published online. The Board also issues safety recommendations to prevent similar, future accidents. Unfortunately, this is too little, too late for the victims of the crash.

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a highway accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation. Drivers who irresponsibly endanger others and companies that make unsafe vehicles should be held accountable for their actions.

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