NTSB Report on Bus Rollover Crash in California

by | Apr 24, 2022 | Tour Bus Accident, Wrongful Death

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its report on the February 22, 2020 charter bus rollover crash in Pala Mesa, California.  During the incident, a the driver of a 30-passenger bus lost control of the vehicle, which left Interstate 15 before overturning.  There were twenty-one people on board.  As a result of the crash, three passengers died, and twelve sustained serious injuries.  The bus was operated by Executive Lines Inc.

The NTSB’s report documents the events that resulted in the crash:

The bus was transporting passengers despite having two tires with unacceptably low tread depths, which can reduce a vehicle’s traction with the road. There was a moderate rain at the time, so the roadway was wet, which would further reduce the available traction. Moreover, the bus was traveling at an excessive speed for the wet roadway conditions, given the suboptimal condition of the bus’s tires, which would have made it more difficult to recover from a loss of control event.

The probable cause of the incident was also determined:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Pala Mesa, California, bus crash was the loss of vehicle control due to the combination of the low and substandard tread depth of the rear axle tires, the excessive speed for the wet roadway and vehicle conditions, and the driver’s inappropriate inputs before and during the loss of control event. Contributing to the crash was Executive Lines Inc.’s inadequate vehicle inspection process, which permitted the bus to operate in passenger service despite having two tires with treads below the minimum required depth. Contributing to the severity of the injuries were the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s failure to require roof strength standards for buses, Executive Lines Inc.’s failure to follow California’s requirement to inform passengers about the state’s mandatory seat belt use law, and the passengers’ limited use of the available lap/shoulder belts.

Safety considerations must take precedence to ensure that anyone relying on charter transportation remains safe.  Safe charter companies must consider take necessary precautions to ensure that their busses do not put the lives of passengers at risk.  The risks of catastrophic injury should always be considered by safe bus companies.  When charter operators fail to account for the known hazards of the industry catastrophic injuries or deaths can result.  Safe companies must hire and train only individuals who can carry out the work without putting at risk the lives of dozens of passengers.  A responsible driver must drive at appropriate speeds based on the weather conditions, and only drive when it is safe to do so.  Failing to do so can have catastrophic results.

Spagnoletti Law Firm has attorneys licensed in Texas, Florida, and New York.  We have previously handled cases involving bus crashes.  Our attorneys have extensive experience and the skills needed to aggressively represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or been seriously injured in a trucking or commercial vehicle accident.  The experienced personal injury attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was involved in an accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.