In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidance set by the Office of Management and Budget, the National Transportation Safety Board has cancelled the April 7, 2020, board meeting for the investigation of the fatal Oct. 30, 2018, Rochester, Indiana, crash involving four students who were crossing a high-speed road to board a school bus.
In lieu of the previously scheduled meeting, the board members of the NTSB will use an electronic process as detailed in existing agency policy to vote on the staff’s investigative report, which contains the probable cause, findings, and safety recommendations.
“NTSB puts safety first, and we believe that, during this stage of the pandemic, this approach to social distancing protects our staff and the public,” said NTSB Managing Director Sharon Bryson. “Handling the investigation through this vote process is one of several ways the NTSB conducts business while maintaining its commitment to transparency in a digital process.”
The fatal collision in Rochester, IN happened when a pickup truck failed to stop for a school bus stopped on the northbound side of a two-lane road with a posted 55 mph speed limit. The school bus had stopped to pick up students who were waiting on the opposite side of the road. The school bus’s red warning lights were active, and its stop arm was extended. After being signaled by the school bus driver to cross, four students entered the roadway. The pickup truck, which was traveling south, struck the four children. A 9-year-old and two 6 year-old students died as a result of the crash. An 11 year old student suffered serious injuries. None of the occupants of the pickup truck or others waiting for the bus were injured.
An abstract of the final report, which will include the report’s probable cause, findings, and safety recommendations, will be available on the NTSB website when the report is approved by the Board.