SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than a dozen people were thrown out of a tour bus that crashed and rolled on a remote Utah highway in 2019, killing four Chinese tourists and highlighting a lack of safety standards for bus roofs and windows, U.S. investigators said Thursday.
The bus crashed after the driver drifted off the road and “overcorrected” as he steered back into the lane near Bryce Canyon National Park, the National Transportation Safety Board found in its final report on the crash.
All 30 people on board were hurt in some way, a grim toll made worse by the roof caving in during the crash and the inconsistent seatbelt use by the passengers, the report found. Ten people on the bus weren’t wearing seatbelts, and some of the belted passengers wore the restraints loosely, making them less effective.
Investigators found no problems with intoxication, distraction, excessive speed, lack of sleep or the driver’s experience. A previous report found the bus had problems starting earlier in the day, but further examination found no mechanical issues or other malfunctions.
The driver had told investigators the road felt “slippery,” and it was newly paved at the time, but tests showed normal friction.
Instead, the report cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s failure to develop and issue standards for bus roof strength and window glazing to prevent people from being thrown out of buses during a crash. That agency did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.