A charter bus carrying Philadelphia-area high school students slammed into a low bridge Saturday night in Boston, injuring 35. It may be the second time in three years that distracted driving has led to a Philly-related motorcoach accident.
In 2010 a Philadelphia-to-Toronto Megabus slammed into an overpass in upstate New York, killing 4. The bus had wandered onto a local parkway with a low railroad bridge over it. The driver apparently missed several signs warning of low clearance. It was determined that the driver of that bus was looking down at a GPS device shortly before the accident.
Early reports indicate it may be the same story in Boston on Saturday.
“Whether it’s GPS or trying to read a map while you’re driving, it’s wrong. It’s inappropriate,” said Victor Parra, president and CEO of the United Motorcoach Association.
The trade group represents some 950 companies in the charter and tour bus industry, including Philadelphia’s Calvary Coach, the company involved in the Boston accident on Saturday.
Parra says his association offers lots of training around safety for its members. He says this instance of alleged distracted driving is not the way it’s supposed to be.
“If you have to take your eyes off the road, whether it be to look at a little GPS device or to read a map or read directions or whatever, you’ve gotta pull over,” Parra said.
At least one Bucks County teenager remains in critical condition.
The Calvary Coach bus slammed into a 10-foot-high overpass Saturday night while returning to the Philadelphia area from a trip to Harvard University. The group included high school students and chaperones who were part of a Destined for a Dream Foundation group based in Bristol, Pa.
Massachusetts police said Monday that the investigation continues and no decisions have been made on whether to charge or cite the bus driver, Samuel J. Jackson, of West Philadelphia.
A spokesman from the National Transportation Safety Board tells WHYY that the agency has yet determine if it will launch its own investigation.