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Speeches

Board Meeting: Highway Accident Report—Motorcoach Collision With Crash - Closing Statement
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH
NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center, Washington, DC
3/28/2017

In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staff in producing this report, and to thank my fellow Board Members, as well, for their very thoughtful participation and careful consideration in the process.  I’d also like to recognize David Pereira as this was his first Board Meeting.  Well done David.

Our nation’s roadways must afford clear guidance to drivers in the form of plainly marked hazards and exits. As we learned here today, this becomes especially important in reduced visibility conditions.

For the government entity that is responsible for maintaining roadway safety, in this case Caltrans, urgent repair orders require urgent action.

Today’s recommendations, if acted upon, will help to protect all drivers from encountering all-but-invisible roadway obstacles.

They will also help reduce deaths and injuries from crashes that do nonetheless occur.

The inclusion of seat belts and collision avoidance systems on buses is commendable. Greyhound is currently equipping all of its fleet with both of these safety features.

But in fatal crash after fatal crash, our investigators find belts that were not used. We find passengers thrown suddenly across, or out of, a bus. We find injuries, and tragic deaths, which could have been prevented with the click of a buckle.

That is why, in our effort to increase seat belt use in buses, we are recommending today that Greyhound provide pre-trip briefings that include using the seat belts.  That is why we are also reiterating our recommendation to the State of California to enact legislation that provides for a primary enforcement law of seat belts in all vehicles that have belts.

Lastly, we made additional recommendations to Greyhound that represent opportunities for continuous improvement. Greyhound has taken proactive measures to establish a framework of safety culture, but it must improve its internal handling of safety-critical driver records.

Today’s recommendations, if acted on, can help to make our highways and roads safer for all motorists, and to make bus travel safer for all passengers.

Thank you and we stand adjourned.

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