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Tragedy on the Highway (AGAIN)- Sleep Apnea?

Palm Springs Oct 23, 2016

Bus rams into the back of a truck.  13 Dead, 31 Injured in HORRIFIC, DEADLY ACCIDENT.

Absolute anger,dismay, angst(it's hard to describe the feeling) that I felt when hearing of this senseless accident on I-10 near Palm Springs. Coincidentally, I was just there about a week ago, attending the Desert Trip concert in nearby Indio, CA.

We have become callous, accidents occur all of the time and we think nothing of it. Life goes on.

How and why did this accident happen? What can be done to prevent similar disasters and tragedies in the future?

Let's look at some of the known facts. (NTSB has not completed their investigation)

  • The bus involved left Los Angeles about 8:00 PM  Sunday evening, taking a group of people to a casino near Palm Springs for an evening of gambling.
  • The bus arrives at the Casino sometime between 11:00 and 11:30. Patrons gamble til 4:00 AM. Drivers usually sleep. (No report yet, as to whether or not this particular driver had slept).
  • 4:00 A.M. Bus leaves the casino.
  • 5:15 A.M. Bus rams into the back of a stopped tractor trailer truck at full speed. (65 MPH speed limit). There was work going on, on the highway. Traffic was stop and go, not exceeding 15 mph.
  • When the bus rammed into the truck, its force drove it 15 feet into the back of the truck. The front of the bus was totally "scrunched".
  • Bus Driver killed instantly plus 12 more. 31 Injured.
  • THERE WERE NO SKID MARKS - This is a very crucial piece of information. If a driver knows that he is about to hit something, the natural reaction is to slam on the brakes, leaving skid marks, or swerving to try to avoid an accident. This did NOT occur here.

So, what happened? Unless the driver just passed out or had a massive heart attack, it is highly likely that he was drowsy and either "zoned out" or dozed off at the wheel.

The bus driver never saw the accident coming.

If the bus was traveling at 60 mph and the driver dozed off for only ONE SECOND, the bus would travel 88 feet or almost 6 car lengths in that time frame. How easy is it to nod off for 5 or 10 seconds, or more? In 15 seconds the vehicle would cover about 1/4 of a mile, whilst the driver nods off, oblivious to everything.

The force of a bus ramming into something at traveling 60 mph is devastating.

Drowsy Driving or Sleeping at the Wheel can be deadly in a heartbeat.

Studies have shown that Drowsy drivers are as dangerous as those Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Even worse, the drowsy driver is still accelerating when he hits someone or something. He never brakes.

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Mark Baldus


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