Honorable Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Member

Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board
Closing Remarks
Board Meeting
Highway Accident Report - School Bus and Truck Collision
Chesterfield, New Jersey
February 16, 2012
Washington, DC - July 23, 2013


I want to thank my fellow Board members for their participation today as we continue our work on school bus safety.

In closing, I'd like to recognize the outstanding work of the NTSB staff who completed the accident investigation and developed this excellent report; in particular, the staff from the Office of Highway Safety, Office of Research and Engineering and the Office of Safety Recommendations. Pete Kotowski, the Investigator-in-Charge; Michele Beckjord, project manager; and their team did an excellent job. In addition, Dr. Kris Poland, Dr. Tom Barth, Ron Kaminski and the occupant kinematics team did an outstanding job documenting the findings from the on-board video recordings.

Our investigators looked at the drivers, the vehicles and the environment. Our recommendations address all of these areas. First, while we recognize the tremendous progress that FMCSA has made under Administrator Ferro's leadership in finalizing many of the medical program requirements, we identify remaining vulnerabilities in our investigations and recommend improvements to the qualifications of those who oversee the medical certification of commercial drivers.

Second, we call for technology enhancements to improve vehicle safety. Notable among these is recommending NHTSA develop minimum performance standards for connected vehicle technology. With these standards NHTSA can then require this technology to be installed on all highway vehicles. This technology holds great promise to protect lives and prevent injuries. Third, today's meeting has produced key recommendations for occupant protection for young and vulnerable travelers.

In about a month it will be back-to-school for our nation's schoolchildren. Many students will be climbing aboard bright yellow buses for the first time. Their parents and guardians should know that riding the bus is the safest way to get to school and home again. Yet, we know improvements can be made.

And, that's the goal of today's report, our recommendations and the work of the NTSB: saving lives and preventing injuries.

We stand adjourned.