CA Fatal Bus Crash: Out of Compliance with Safety Standards

Photo: Courtesy LA Times

Desert Hot Springs, CA – The tour bus that crashed in Desert Hot Springs, killing 13 people and injuring many others, did not comply with vehicle safety standards because two of its eight tires lacked sufficient tread, according to officials of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Officials released the findings following a preliminary examination of the body and wheels of the motor coach.

The USA Holiday bus had been returning to Los Angeles from Red Earth Casino near the Salton Sea when it collided Sunday with a big rig traveling on Interstate 10. The crash was the deadliest in the state in several decades.

The bus, a 1996 model manufactured by Motor Coach Industries, had no seat belts and did not appear to brake before the collision. An additional 31 people were injured, including the driver of the big rig. He was identified as Bruce Guilford, 50, of Covington, Ga.

According to officials, both steer axle tires were below the requirements for minimum tire tread depth, which is 4/32 of an inch – which would have been reason to take the bus out of service, as steer axle tires are critical to controlling a vehicle.

Records show that Vides, 59, had been sued twice for negligence and had a spotty safety record.

In 2007, three people were killed after a USA Holiday bus crashed into a Honda Civic on the northbound 215 Freeway in Riverside.

Meantime, The NTSB and the National Safety Council are scheduled to convene tomorrow (Oct. 27, 2016), when an expert panel of government officials, car manufacturers, researchers, automobile media groups, industry associations, and safety advocates will discuss driver assistance technologies and what they mean for safety.

The expert panel, titled Reaching Zero Crashes: A Dialogue on the Role of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, will discuss how driver assistance systems such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and other technology-based safety enhancements can prevent or mitigate vehicle crashes and save lives.
The group will also explore how to educate and train the public on the use of such technologies and how human factors influence vehicle design.