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Fatal bus crash highlights safety risks for passengers

Many people and groups use buses for traveling instead of driving their own vehicles. Riding a bus can be cheaper and more convenient for many people. However, a recent fatal bus accident is just another tragic example of the dangers bus passengers face when traveling long distances on a commercial bus.

The fatal bus accident happened in Tennessee after the commercial bus crossed a highway median and hit a tractor-trailer and SUV. The accident resulted in eight fatalities and an additional 14 injuries. Reports state that the fatalities included passengers from the bus as well as one person in the tractor-trailer and another person in the SUV.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said that they believe there was something wrong with the bus' front tire, which led to the fatal accident. The highway patrol will be investigating the crash to see what factors contributed to the accident. The patrol will likely investigate the bus' speed at the time leading up to the crash, the bus driver's history and the service records for the bus to see if the maintenance of the bus or the bus driver's driving skills also contributed to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board would usually investigate fatal crashes like this one. However, due to the government shutdown, the NTSB said they do not have investigators currently working to investigate this crash. The NTSB investigations typically spend one to two weeks at the scene of the accident and issue a final report within 12 months.

Sometimes the NTSB investigations lead to safety recommendations and even new requirements for commercial bus and truck drivers depending on the findings of the investigation. However, the NTSB will not be able to issue any safety recommendations since they cannot investigate the crash.

Source: NBC News, "No NTSB investigators for deadly bus crash because of government shutdown: official," Matthew DeLuca and M. Alex Johnson, Oct. 8, 2013

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