Early last month on our Chicago blog we wrote of the Megabus accident in southern Illinois that claimed the life of one passenger and injured many others. Crash investigators have been looking into the incident, and two weeks ago the Illinois State Police released its report detailing the causes of the accident.
According to the report, the immediate cause of the accident was, as some had initially suspected, a blown tire. The front tire on the left-hand side of the bus burst, rendering the bus uncontrollable. The driver recalled that after the blowout the bus would not respond to the steering wheel. The bus turned from the center lane, where it had been traveling, and moved toward the median. It eventually left the road and slammed into a concrete bridge support pillar.
The crash marked the third in two years for Megabus that can be attributed to a blown tire, according to information provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Common carriers are required to perform regular maintenance on their vehicles in order to ensure the safety of passengers. Since the accident, bus companies across the country have been reminded of best practices that can reduce the chances of a blown tire, including distributing weight evenly and inflating tires to handle heavier loads.
The driver of the bus was not blamed in the report. Although he was only 25 years old and just beginning his employment at Megabus as a trainee, investigators said that he could not have done anything more once the tire failed. In fact, his decision to refrain from extensive steering corrections may have averted a rollover crash, according to the investigators.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Tire blowout blamed for fatal Megabus crash,” John Hilkevitch, Aug. 30, 2012