Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ordered a review of bus safety policies in response to the crash in Mexican Hat, Utah back in January 2008. According to KSL news, the crash killed 9 people and injured 43 others. The National Transportation Safety Board said that driver fatigue was the probable cause of the crash. The board also stated that a delay by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in implementing bus safety regulations made ten years ago contributed to the accident’s severity. The regulations, if implemented properly, would strengthen the bus’s roof and steps to help keep them in their seats during a roll over.
During the crash, the roof came completely off the bus and everyone with exception of the driver who was wearing a seat belt was ejected from the bus. The driver, Welland Lotan, was forced to take a longer route home due to weather related highway closures. Lotan suffered from sleep apnea and was using a device to regulate his breathing days before the accident. Lotan took a wrong turn onto a road that was not part of the intended route when the accident occurred. The bus was so isolated that it took emergency crews nearly one hour to arrive on scene. The nearest hospital was about 190 miles away in Flagstaff, Arizona.
“Motorcoaches have been a safe form of transportation in the United States for many years, but even a single crash or accident is unacceptable,” LaHood said in a statement.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.