NTSB blames deadly 2016 crash on sleep deprivation

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board is once again blaming a fatal motorcoach crash on driver sleep deprivation.

NTSB issued a report saying an Aug. 2, 2016, crash in California that left four passengers dead was caused when the motorcoach drifted out of its travel lanes, striking a barrier system and a highway signpost shortly after 3 a.m. near Livingston, Calif.

The crash forces resulted in the signpost entering the passenger compartment and tearing through almost the entire length of the vehicle. The surviving 20 passengers received minor to serious injuries.

Investigators determined the driver, who was seriously injured, had only about five hours of opportunity for sleep in the 40 hours preceding the crash, leaving him in a state of “acute sleep loss” at the time of the crash. There were no tire marks or other indication the driver took any action to avoid the barrier.

“Here’s yet another fatal crash involving both a motorcoach carrier with a starkly evident history of safety problems and a severely fatigued driver,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt.  “It’s time that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration move more aggressively to keep these unsafe carriers off American roadways.”

Fresno-based Autobuses Coordinados USA Inc. operated the motorcoach. According to FMCSA records Autobuses Coordinados vehicles failed eight of 29 federal inspections in fewer than two years, pushing its out-of-service rate to 38 percent, almost five times greater than the national average of 8 percent.

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