NHTSA Reports Incorrect Statistics for Bus Accidents and Deaths


The amount of fatalities associated with bus accidents are much higher than reported, USA TODAY finds.
In fact, just on June 27, former basketball star Lorenzo Charles died in a bus accident.

It was discovered that a much publicized crash that killed eight people was not even included in the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency is responsible for tracking and documenting accidents.

USA TODAY found at least 42 fatalities of motor coach occupants and drivers were not reported using NHTSA's standard definition of a motor coach accident from 1995 to 2009, the most current year for which data are available. Since 2003, 32 fatalities have not been included in the reports. In comparison to the incomplete reports that are out now, it is a 32 percent increase.

Since 1995, inaccurate numbers have been recorded in regards to coach accidents and deaths. These incorrect numbers have been given in testimony before Congress and in public reports on bus safety.

These reports have given many parties a false impression of bus safety. Safety advocates say this has sparked a lot interest to promote stronger regulation. Senator Sherrod Brown and Kay Bailey Hutchison say that they are troubled by the lack of correct information in the statistics. Vice President of the non-profit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Jacqueline Gillan says that it gives the industry the political cover they want. They are vowing to investigate the matter.

Charles died Monday when the motor coach he was driving went out of control. His death brings the number of occupants who died in motor coach accidents since March to 25. This year's accidents have driven the issue into the news and prompted congressional hearings.

NHTSA spokeswoman Lynda Tran says the agency is working with state officials to improve the quality of data it receives on accidents.



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