Government Fleet Top News

New Data on Utah State University Van Crash Released

October 18, 2006

LOGAN, UT – The tires of the 15-passenger van that overturned Sept. 26, 2005, killing eight Utah State University students and their instructor and injuring two others, may have been under-inflated, according to The Herald Journal. The data report recently released by two National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators also indicates that USU officials were unaware that “tire pressure is a critical issue” before the crash.

The report, which draws from investigations by the NTSB, the Utah Highway Patrol, and the Utah State Division of Risk Management, makes no conclusions or analysis of the facts — information that will likely take at least six months to be released.

The report mentions two other investigations led by the NTSB into similar 15-passenger van crashes in North Carolina and Texas. Following those investigations, the board determined that under-inflation of tires likely contributed to tire failure in those crashes, which “altered the vehicle’s dynamics,” causing it to overturn according to The Herald Journal.

Before the rollover, drivers of USU vans were required to take a class every three years in which they learned to check tire pressure before taking the vehicles, but not with an actual pressure gauge, according to the report. Now such training is required yearly, and a gauge must be used in pre-trip inspections.

USU has permanently grounded its fleet of 12- and 15-passenger vans, opting for mini-buses with duel rear wheels and steel body reinforcements

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