Driver distraction has been a hot topic this year, and it may be to blame for a double-decker bus crash that killed four people in central New York last weekend.
Authorities said that bus driver John Tomaszewski, 59, of Yardville, N.J., was using his own GPS device before his Megabus hit a low railroad bridge early last Saturday morning in Salina, a suburb of Syracyse, in Onondaga County, according to the Associated Press.
The bus driver, who sustained a head injury in the accident, told officials that he listening to the audio on his GPS when his 13-foot-1-inch high bus failed to pass through bridge’s low span, which was 10-feet-9-inches, AP reported.
Tomaszewski’s actions were against his bus company’s policy. Coach USA, which operates Megabus, doesn’t allow its bus drivers to use any GPS device while driving. Each bus does have its own GPS system, so that the company can track it, but that device isn’t supposed to be used by drivers for directions.
The double-decker bus had departed from Philadelphia on Friday en route to Toronto, with stops in Syracuse and Buffalo. It had 29 passengers including the driver, who made a wrong turn off an interstate highway and then hit the bridge.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is investigating the accident.
The fatal crash in Salina was not so unusual for the Empire State. There has been a spate of trucks hitting overpass in New York.
That prompted New York Gov. David Paterson, according to AP, to propose a bill last October that mandates that large commercial trucks use GSP devices to keep then routed away from low overpassses. But it wasn’t known if that bill included buses, or what the legislation’s statue is.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.