NTSB Sets Meeting on 2016 Collision Involving Casino Bus

The Oct. 23, 2016, collision on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, Calif., occurred around 5:17 a.m. and killed 13 people, including the bus driver.

The National Transportation Safety Board will meet Oct. 31 in Washington, D.C., to determine the probable cause of a collision last fall that involved a motorcoach and a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, Calif. The bus was carrying passengers back from a casino excursion when it collided with the rear of the truck's trailer at about 5:17 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2016. According to NTSB, traffic at the time was backed up in both directions at that location because Southern California Edison Company workers were moving electrical wires that crossed the highway, and the California Highway Patrol was stopping traffic to facilitate the work.

The NTSB meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time and will be available as a live webcast, with a link to the webcast made available shortly before the start of the meeting at http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/.

The bus was traveling westbound on the interstate Highway in the center right lane of the four-lane roadway. Operated by USA Holiday, which is headquartered in Alhambra, Calif., it was transporting 42 passengers from the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, Calif., to Los Angeles. The collision killed the bus driver and 12 passengers, while 30 passengers and the truck driver were injured. NTSB reported the posted speed limit for I-10 in the vicinity of the crash was 70 mph and the posted limit for vehicles towing trailers was 55 mph.

Parties to the investigation include the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Caltrans, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. CHP is conducting a separate, parallel investigation of the crash alongside NTSB.

Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times reported in November 2016 that the USA Holiday bus was covered only by the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by federal law, $5 million, and that company was a one-driver operation run out of the driver's apartment.

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