August 7, 2014 1:23 pm

Mechanical defects did not cause fatal Quebec tour bus crash

Investigators look over the scene of a bus accident on Interstate 87, also known as the Adirondack Northway, in North Hudson, N.Y. on Friday July 18, 2014.

John DiGiacomo/AP/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The New York State Police department has confirmed that mechanical issues were not the cause of the tragic tour bus accident that claimed the life of a Quebec teen and left dozens injured.

According to a statement, inspectors from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit “found that no pre-crash mechanical defects could have contributed to the accident.”

Watch: Quebec girl dies in bus crash

On July 21, the bus, carrying 55 passengers and one driver, was travelling south on Interstate 87 about 200 kilometres south of Montreal, when it veered off the shoulder of the highway at around 8 a.m. and rolled over in the median.

READ MOREQuebec teen killed, 54 others injured in upstate New York tour bus crash

The crash killed 14-year-old Chelssy Mercier, who was trapped under the bus.

According to authorities, the 61-year-old driver had been inspected three times in the past year and passed all three inspections.

Police saidthe investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing, and more information will be released as it is made available.

READ MORE: Bus crash victims launch lawsuit against tour company

At the end of July, crash victims confirmed they planned to launch a lawsuit in the U.S. against the company that owned the bus, Fleur de Lys, as well as against the tour operator, jaimemonvoyage.com.

Emergency personnel attend to a victim after a bus accident on Interstate 87, also known as the Adirondack Northway, in North Hudson, N.Y. on Friday July 18, 2014.

John DiGiacomo/AP/The Canadian Press

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Another possible cause?

According to an investigation by the American National Traffic Safety Board, driver-related problems were responsible for 60 per cent of bus crash fatalities between 1998 and 2008, and the number one cause of fatal bus accidents was driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue: 36%
Vehicle condition: 20%
Driver medical condition: 18%
Recognition, not driver fault: 11%
Other: 7%
Inattention: 6%
Road conditions: 2%

Although there has been no confirmation that driver fatigue was the cause of this accident, Larry Hanley, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) that represents Greyhound bus drivers in North America, told Global News that bus safety and driver fatigue were a serious cause for concern.

“If people could pay a few extra dollars to make sure that they have a driver or pilot that was refreshed and has gotten a good night’s sleep and has a decent economic environment to live and work in, I think they would. But they’re not given that choice.”

He suggested that deregulation and vicious competition between bus companies may be causing a decline in safety standards.

Listen to clips from the interview here:

“Passengers may be getting cheap tickets and discount drivers but they’re paying with their lives.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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