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Feds Eye Possible Issues After Deadly California Bus Crash

ORLAND, Calif. — Federal investigators say they will review whether a stretch of California freeway where a bus carrying students was struck by a big rig should have had a barrier down the median to prevent head-on collisions.

National Transportation Safety Board

National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind briefs media on a tractor trailer's collision with a charter bus carrying high school students in northern California, April 11, 2014.

In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it will determine if a fire suppression system recommended but not mandated for buses would have made a difference in the crash that left 10 people dead.

Mark Rosekind, an NTSB member, said his agency would be gathering information over the next two weeks but not immediately provide a preliminary cause of the fiery crash along Interstate 5.

The bus was carrying 44 teenagers from Southern California high schools to Humboldt State University to participate in a program that invites prospective low-income or first-generation college students to visit the campus.

Comments

Avatar for user 'magnumforc'

magnumforc | April 12, 2014 at 9 p.m. ― 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Many of our high speed highways in California lack center median barrier protection. This is common when you get into the northern part of I-5 from I believe Fresno County north, and is completely open along Highway 99 as well. The same is true along many other highways in the state, except for those in urban areas where extreely heavy traffic dictates "Jersey Rail" or similar concrete barrier protection. Even the old steel cable strung through the center median vegetation was better than nothing. (It caught a Camaro and sprung it back just before it crossed over from the northbound to the southbound lanes on I-5 right in front of me in San Diego some years ago) .

Imagine a contact speed of 140 miles per hour (I-5 has a 70 MPH speed limit in that area) and the damage has to be horrendous. Even at 55 the closing speed would be 110. Makes a crash almost unsurvivable and it was a miracle many of the young people on that bus survived.

What precludes center median barriers? Money and politicians. How many miles of barriers could have been installed had the money not been wasted on the High Speed Train to Nowhere project? The Federal Government and the State don't mandate protection until something so deadly occurs that they just can't shove their head in the sand any longer. They have managed to do the same on Highway 67 in San Diego County for years, but we haven't had a loss of this magnitude either. Just a few livs at a time.

Don't let this opportunity to make changes pass. While those who can make changes are shifting nervously, make them answer why money wasn't spent to protect people, and why a narrow strip of dirt and grass is okay instead of a substantial barrier on high speed roads! .

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