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Non-Road Boards => Off-Topic => Topic started by: cpzilliacus on October 07, 2018, 06:00:54 PM

Title: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 07, 2018, 06:00:54 PM
This happened at the junction of NY-30 and NY-30A.

Times-Union: Schoharie limo crash deadliest in US in nine years -
State Police confirm 20 dead as they work to notify relatives of the victims (https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/20-killed-in-Schoharie-limousine-crash-13288015.php)

N.Y. Times: Limo Crash Kills 20 in Upstate New York; Nation’s Deadliest Accident in 9 Years (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/nyregion/wedding-limo-crash-schoharie-ny.html)

Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: tradephoric on October 07, 2018, 07:10:51 PM
Horrific... here is a google maps link of the crash location:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7004044,-74.3016601,170m/data=!3m1!1e3
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 07, 2018, 07:18:08 PM
Since NTSB is involved in the investigation, there may be some interesting outcomes.
First aspect I think they need to look at is a stretched limo approach. I didn't realize those are aftermarket stretches of regular-size cars, and that may very well be a contributing factor - possibly brakes just couldn't handle a heavier vehicle in a hilly area.
Second one - and I hope there will be something done here! - is NYSDOT approach to road design. "It worked 50 years ago, so there is no problem" is not a good approach to design. Too bad it may mean more roundabouts, but maybe they will finally get some qualified people.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 07, 2018, 07:44:20 PM
I'm very familiar with that location, being only about 20 miles south of here.  It's not a good setup.

From what I've heard, 17 of the victims were passengers in the limo and all of them came from in or near my hometown and current home in Amsterdam.  I doubt Amsterdam has featured so prominently in the national and international news since the Thruway bridge collapse just west of here 30 years ago.  It's obviously going to be a tough time for a lot of people around here.  Just about everyone's going to know some of the victims or people close to them.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 07, 2018, 07:46:40 PM
First aspect I think they need to look at is a stretched limo approach. I didn't realize those are aftermarket stretches of regular-size cars, and that may very well be a contributing factor - possibly brakes just couldn't handle a heavier vehicle in a hilly area.
Yeah, I’m assuming there were so many fatalities because the passengers weren’t wearing seatbelts, but I wonder if there were even seatbelts installed. I also wonder if the driver should’ve had a CDL - I thought there was a federal law that you needed one to drive a vehicle that could hold more than 15 passengers, but I don’t know if limos are exempt.

This whole thing is tragic, made me think of the bridal party that died when their limo caught fire on the Oakland Bay Bridge.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 07, 2018, 07:54:06 PM
First aspect I think they need to look at is a stretched limo approach. I didn't realize those are aftermarket stretches of regular-size cars, and that may very well be a contributing factor - possibly brakes just couldn't handle a heavier vehicle in a hilly area.
Yeah, I’m assuming there were so many fatalities because the passengers weren’t wearing seatbelts, but I wonder if there were even seatbelts installed. I also wonder if the driver should’ve had a CDL - I thought there was a federal law that you needed one to drive a vehicle that could hold more than 15 passengers, but I don’t know if limos are exempt.

This whole thing is tragic, made me think of the bridal party that died when their limo caught fire on the Oakland Bay Bridge.
NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only. 
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 07, 2018, 09:35:45 PM
How in the world did that many people die … did someone have a submachine gun?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 07, 2018, 09:45:40 PM
More from the Times-Union: Four sisters, newlyweds celebrating birthday among 20 killed in Schoharie limo crash (https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Four-sisters-newlyweds-celebrating-birthday-13288852.php)

Quote
Erin and Shane McGowan were just starting their life together after five months of marriage when they climbed into a limousine to celebrate their friend Amy's 30th birthday. The ride ended in the nation's deadliest transportation disaster since 2009, killing the McGowans and 18 others when the limousine crashed into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie on Saturday afternoon.

Quote
"They just decided to rent a limousine and have fun and not worry about everything," Erin's uncle Anthony Vertucci told the Times Union on Sunday.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 07, 2018, 10:19:38 PM
How in the world did that many people die … did someone have a submachine gun?
Vehicle flying through a stop sign of a T intersection converting it to an X. Flying through a parking lot, hitting other cars and people, and throwing passengers all over the place, likely no seatbelts. Probably a rollover on top of everything else to crash whoever was inside. No machine gun required....
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: froggie on October 07, 2018, 10:40:13 PM
Taking a quick look at elevation, it's an approximately 7.5% grade for the bottom half-mile (basically 200 feet drop in that half mile).

Besides posting a warning sign at the top of the hill saying there's a stop sign at the bottom of the hill or putting some rumble strips in on the downhill side, I'm not sure what could be done to "improve" the intersection.  Smoothing the turn or the hill out would require money and right-of-way that NYSDOT just doesn't have.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 07, 2018, 10:43:31 PM
NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only.

The national definition I have read says that up to or including 15 passengers (and 1 driver) does not need a CDL.  Above 15 passengers needs a CDL with P endorsement.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 07, 2018, 10:51:25 PM
From some reports, the limo was barreling down the hill at a high rate of speed. Having driven that a few times before, it's just a long but not steep downgrade from 1100' to around 650'. There are two hill grade signs at the top of the hill going westbound and another mid-way down. Towards the base is a reduced speed 50 MPH sign followed by a stop ahead sign. Which is odd - why reduce the speed limit from 55 MPH to 50 MPH just before the stop? And why not identify the stop ahead way before - say, at the top of the hill? NYDOT does this in other areas - warning of a stop sign at the base of a hill or of sharp grades/curves (e.g. all around Ithaca), and PENNDOT does this many times over with those gigantic diagrammatic signs.

I won't fault anyone at this point. The driver could have had his brakes failing. It was a SUV modified into a limo - so the brakes could have been underpowered and failed in the downhill, or were already hot and were failing. Or the driver could have been inattentive. And if you are going down the hill at 60 MPH, and you see the stop sign too late, you are just going to barrel across the road into the woods.

--

EDIT: I just noticed in the streetview that NY 30 is banned to commercial vehicles / trucks, with three very obvious signs placed in a row (https://goo.gl/maps/LzZ79hYUmzA2). This would prohibit the limo.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 07, 2018, 10:55:03 PM
Taking a quick look at elevation, it's an approximately 7.5% grade for the bottom half-mile (basically 200 feet drop in that half mile).

Besides posting a warning sign at the top of the hill saying there's a stop sign at the bottom of the hill or putting some rumble strips in on the downhill side, I'm not sure what could be done to "improve" the intersection.  Smoothing the turn or the hill out would require money and right-of-way that NYSDOT just doesn't have.
I drove through that spot a few times and vaguely remember that stop sign shows up with little warning. Probably fact that designated road, NY 30, makes a 90 deg turn there contributes to confusion.
The entire area, basically a valley between mountains, needs a bit of attention. So yes, warnings and signage, probably not much else.

NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only.

The national definition I have read says that up to or including 15 passengers (and 1 driver) does not need a CDL.  Above 15 passengers needs a CDL with P endorsement.
Either way it is CDL. Until they were cutting corners and put 17 pax in 14 pax vehicle.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 07, 2018, 11:15:14 PM
"Truck 30" was designated to follow NY 7 to NY 30A, bypassing that steep downhill segment, I'd guess several years ago now.  I wouldn't be surprised if NY 30 mainline is routed that same way after this, truncating NY 30A to its NY 7 junction.  I've driven up and down that hill many times and really enjoy the ride.  But if you have a problem on the way down, whether it's mechanical failure, driver inattention, or driver incapacitation (which is the theory flying through the local rumor mill, no idea if that's reliable), it's bad news at the bottom.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 08, 2018, 12:00:27 AM
I wonder if the powerplant could have been a factor.  The Ford Excursion is available with a diesel engine.

Looking at the NY 30 downhill descent in StreetView, I cannot imagine that I would not downshift to a lower gear to hold a steady speed on the hill while keeping the brakes cool, and this strategy has worked well in every gasoline-powered car I have driven.  But if the limo was diesel-powered, compression braking may not have been readily available to the driver.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 08, 2018, 12:26:08 AM
I wonder if the powerplant could have been a factor.  The Ford Excursion is available with a diesel engine.

Looking at the NY 30 downhill descent in StreetView, I cannot imagine that I would not downshift to a lower gear to hold a steady speed on the hill while keeping the brakes cool, and this strategy has worked well in every gasoline-powered car I have driven.  But if the limo was diesel-powered, compression braking may not have been readily available to the driver.

My pickup truck is based on  the same chassis as the crashed vehicle  (though I think the vehicle in the wreck is a year or two newer than 2001). 

My  truck has the 7.3L tuboDiesel engine with a 6-speed manual, and downshifting it will definitely slow things down. 

But the crashed vehicle probably had an automatic with a 6.0 turboDiesel (or perhaps a gas engine), but I  think it reasonable to assume that downshifting the automatic would have slowed it down at least somewhat.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 12:48:08 AM
I EDIT: I just noticed in the streetview that NY 30 is banned to commercial vehicles / trucks, with three very obvious signs placed in a row (https://goo.gl/maps/LzZ79hYUmzA2). This would prohibit the limo.
Street view shows pictorial R5-2 sign "no trucks". There is a different, text only, R5-4 sign "no commercial vehicles". So no, limo is not a truck and is allowed to go.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 08, 2018, 12:49:38 AM
N.Y. Times: Limo Crash Kills 20 in Upstate New York; Nation’s Deadliest Accident in 9 Years (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/nyregion/wedding-limo-crash-schoharie-ny.html) (article updated).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 08, 2018, 01:10:56 AM
How in the world did that many people die … did someone have a submachine gun?
Vehicle flying through a stop sign of a T intersection converting it to an X. Flying through a parking lot, hitting other cars and people, and throwing passengers all over the place, likely no seatbelts. Probably a rollover on top of everything else to crash whoever was inside. No machine gun required....

So what did it hit?  A fixed object?  A larger vehicle(s)?  That is a rather tremendous impact needed to kill 20 people.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 07:27:50 AM
How in the world did that many people die … did someone have a submachine gun?
Vehicle flying through a stop sign of a T intersection converting it to an X. Flying through a parking lot, hitting other cars and people, and throwing passengers all over the place, likely no seatbelts. Probably a rollover on top of everything else to crash whoever was inside. No machine gun required....

So what did it hit?  A fixed object?  A larger vehicle(s)?  That is a rather tremendous impact needed to kill 20 people.
There are no close up pics of the wreck. There are pictures and reports of bodies on the ground.
There are few pics of a tree with fresh cut branches. Initial reports were about victims flown to a hospital, but no mention of anyone in a hospital, all occupants and 2 people on the ground are dead
Forme this adds up to vehicle broken open and scattering occupants all over the place at 50 mph and stopping at a tree with tree branches penetrating the cabin.
Since this is a long stretch limo, thing breaing in half is not beyond imagination.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 08, 2018, 08:03:41 AM
It apparently slammed into an unoccupied vehicle and two pedestrians before barreling into the underbrush/forest.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 08, 2018, 08:06:43 AM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.


Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 08:20:55 AM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.
Doesn't look that way. My guts feeling are that a regular car with people buckled up would give at least some survival chances to occupants (not pedestrians). But I don't think these limos are crash tested and may have some nasty failure modes.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 08, 2018, 08:49:02 AM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.
Doesn't look that way. My guts feeling are that a regular car with people buckled up would give at least some survival chances to occupants (not pedestrians). But I don't think these limos are crash tested and may have some nasty failure modes.
Yeah, those are my thoughts as well. Will be interesting to see what it means for stretch limos in the future.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 08, 2018, 09:05:27 AM
Some of the victims: https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-limousine-crash-victims-included-newlyweds-brothers

Then there is now this, the limo was in a "terrible condition": https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-crash-victim-text-messaged-that-limo-was-in-terrible-condition-before-accident-killed-20

And in another article, local officials were bemoaning about how dangerous the intersection was and rattling off about tractor-trailers (everyone's favorite punching bag, it seems). Except trucks were banned, perhaps after the intersection was cleaned up several years ago?

Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US 81 on October 08, 2018, 09:06:53 AM
Lots of limos that size have long side-facing bench seats. (eg two long benches facing each other for maximum party interactions).  Even 3-point shoulder-harness restraints do not have a good record in preventing injury when crash forces are applied in a side direction (as opposed to back-to-front / front-to-back direction).   
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 09:13:55 AM
Some of the victims: https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-limousine-crash-victims-included-newlyweds-brothers

Then there is now this, the limo was in a "terrible condition": https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-crash-victim-text-messaged-that-limo-was-in-terrible-condition-before-accident-killed-20

And in another article, local officials were bemoaning about how dangerous the intersection was and rattling off about tractor-trailers (everyone's favorite punching bag, it seems). Except trucks were banned, perhaps after the intersection was cleaned up several years ago?
The way local newspaper writes about it is that trucks were banned because they were doing the exact same thing as limo did - running through the stop sign and into the parking lot. And well, it is a challenging spot, so I wouldn't be surprised if that actually happened.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 08, 2018, 09:24:25 AM
Lots of limos that size have long side-facing bench seats. (eg two long benches facing each other for maximum party interactions).  Even 3-point shoulder-harness restraints do not have a good record in preventing injury when crash forces are applied in a side direction (as opposed to back-to-front / front-to-back direction).   
I wonder if that’s why limos that size are much less common than they used to be. I think we had around 20 people at my bachelor party, maybe less, and we were carried around town in a party bus with front-facing seats.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 08, 2018, 09:36:32 AM
Based my knowledge of that intersection and from the pictures I've seen of where the limo came to rest, it looks to me like it went through part of the parking lot and in to a wooded ditch area, where it probably hit the side of that ditch, possibly sideways.  Of course, it's all speculation now.  The NTSB says they expect the investigation to last about 5 days.

If it was in fact that there was a mechanical issue or a driver incapacitation, it happened at a most unfortunate location.  They came down 30 from Amsterdam, and there are plenty of places where a car could go off the road at a curve at the bottom of a hill and go into into a corn field or cow pasture and while it wouldn't be great, it would be much more survivable.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on October 08, 2018, 09:55:26 AM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.


Stretch limos seem to have a poor track record when it comes to safety.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 08, 2018, 10:04:36 AM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.

Stretch limos seem to have a poor track record when it comes to safety.

I've never been fond of the things.  They don't seem to go through any real, proper crash testing.  And they're usually made by slicing the donor vehicle in half, between the front and rear doors, adding a section in between.  This loses the normal structural integrity of the vehicle as designed by the manufacturer.  Granted, there are manufacturer designed and built limos, but they're nowhere near as long as the typical stretch limo (an example would be the Presidential limo - that's designed and built by GM; the Cadillac Series 75 was another, likewise designed and built by GM).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 10:08:21 AM
Based my knowledge of that intersection and from the pictures I've seen of where the limo came to rest, it looks to me like it went through part of the parking lot and in to a wooded ditch area, where it probably hit the side of that ditch, possibly sideways.  Of course, it's all speculation now.  The NTSB says they expect the investigation to last about 5 days.

If it was in fact that there was a mechanical issue or a driver incapacitation, it happened at a most unfortunate location.  They came down 30 from Amsterdam, and there are plenty of places where a car could go off the road at a curve at the bottom of a hill and go into into a corn field or cow pasture and while it wouldn't be great, it would be much more survivable.
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-crash-aftermath-A-pall-descends-on-13289583.php#photo-16295990
Gallery images 6,10,12 and 13.
As far as I understand, image 6 shows where wreck was extracted - otherwise dirt and scratches on pavement makes no sense. And I would imagine it went in the same way, no damage on  the sides.
So looks like limo vent off paved store driveway - and only a stretch near the road looks paved, most of the lot is not. It is clearly not a state road with the curb or rail.
Then off-road flight was fairly short, 20 feet or so, and it ended head on with the tree, images 12-13.   And tree had to be cut during rescue and cleanup, image 10.
I
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 08, 2018, 10:43:45 AM
We may have to wait for the NTSB report for full details on how this crash could kill 100% of the vehicle occupants (only one of the 18 survived long enough to be transported to hospital, where he or she subsequently died).  I suspect the sudden deceleration when the vehicle hit the ditch slope would have been enough.  The Times-Union pictures show deep gouges in the asphalt surface of the parking lot, which suggests to me that the limo was going fast enough at the bottom of the hill (more than 100 mph?) that the crossfall of the cross road was enough to launch it into the air, destroying the suspension when it landed, and leaving it with enough leftover momentum to slide into the ditch at tremendous speed.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 10:52:15 AM
https://dailygazette.com/article/2018/10/07/ntsb-en-route-to-multiple-fatality-schoharie-crash-scene
Image 5 in a gallery.
Car looks pretty much intact: no roof collapse, no rollover, not broken.
If only people were buckled up...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 08, 2018, 10:54:06 AM
It must have been pretty horrific, for "the press" not to post photos of the wrecked vehicle, given how in nearly every case they post detailed photos of horrific bus accidents.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 08, 2018, 10:59:34 AM
https://dailygazette.com/article/2018/10/07/ntsb-en-route-to-multiple-fatality-schoharie-crash-scene
Image 5 in a gallery.
Car looks pretty much intact: no roof collapse, no rollover, not broken.
If only people were buckled up...

Buckling up wouldn't have helped, much like why you can't (and shouldn't) retrofit belts into older school buses. Safety systems should be designed from the onset, which is why school buses (using my example) are being fitted with modern bench seats and proper restraints.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 11:02:08 AM
It must have been pretty horrific, for "the press" not to post photos of the wrecked vehicle, given how in nearly every case they post detailed photos of horrific bus accidents.
I suspect press didn't have a chance to actually get to the scene, number of casualties was not reported until next day - and this is on outskirts of the metropolitan area, not too many people there. TU photos are after the wreck was removed.
However, there is a photo in Daily Gazette. Vehicle body is pretty much intact, and the door seems to be opened normally.


Buckling up wouldn't have helped, much like why you can't (and shouldn't) retrofit belts into older school buses. Safety systems should be designed from the onset, which is why school buses (using my example) are being fitted with modern bench seats and proper restraints.


I am more thinking along the lines of people thrown around as opposed to staying in place. Regular 3-point seatbelts could be useless on side benches anyway.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 08, 2018, 11:05:52 AM
https://dailygazette.com/article/2018/10/07/ntsb-en-route-to-multiple-fatality-schoharie-crash-scene
Image 5 in a gallery.
Car looks pretty much intact: no roof collapse, no rollover, not broken.
If only people were buckled up...

Part of the limo seems intact.  We're only seeing maybe the rear half to two-thirds in the image.  I'm wondering where the rest of the limo is.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: empirestate on October 08, 2018, 11:12:27 AM
What modifications were made when the intersection was reconstructed in '08?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 08, 2018, 11:18:45 AM
Car looks pretty much intact: no roof collapse, no rollover, not broken.
If only people were buckled up...
Part of the limo seems intact.  We're only seeing maybe the rear half to two-thirds in the image.  I'm wondering where the rest of the limo is.

Right … maybe 1/2 of the vehicle in that photo.  The rest may have disintegrated.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: roadman65 on October 08, 2018, 11:38:46 AM
I see that two pedestrians were part of the 20 as the vehicle had only 18 occupants.

Very sad.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 08, 2018, 12:13:44 PM
Latest from Governor: vehicle had failed inspection and was on the road illegally and the driver was not appropriately licensed to drive it.  Wow.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 08, 2018, 12:48:05 PM
I just suspected that it hit some kind of large and immovable object(s) or very large vehicle,  that caused severe deceleration G-forces, to cause that kind of nonsurvivable crash with that many fatalities.

Stretch limos seem to have a poor track record when it comes to safety.

I've never been fond of the things.  They don't seem to go through any real, proper crash testing.  And they're usually made by slicing the donor vehicle in half, between the front and rear doors, adding a section in between.  This loses the normal structural integrity of the vehicle as designed by the manufacturer.  Granted, there are manufacturer designed and built limos, but they're nowhere near as long as the typical stretch limo (an example would be the Presidential limo - that's designed and built by GM; the Cadillac Series 75 was another, likewise designed and built by GM).
Yeah, the Presidential limo is designed to protect its occupants. Stretch limos, well, aren’t.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: froggie on October 08, 2018, 01:31:28 PM
For Scott/Beltway:  if you haven't seen the photos yet, the center of this is approximately where the limo crashed. (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7003068,-74.3016772,3a,75y,209.18h,84.43t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sy7gIE_-G66KvKgJd29ocfQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo0.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3Dy7gIE_-G66KvKgJd29ocfQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D329.29852%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100)  There is a 3-4ft high earthen berm behind the bushes.

For empirestate:  previously, the intersection was a very skewed-angle intersection located in front of the first house to the southeast of Apple Barrel...you can make out the former NY 30 alignment in the clearing across the road from Apple Barrel.  The intersection was realigned to the current 90-degree angle with left turn lanes added.  It was also later than 2008...in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

I would conjecture that 30A was made the "through route" because it has the interchange with I-88.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 08, 2018, 01:36:24 PM
Latest from Governor: vehicle had failed inspection and was on the road illegally and the driver was not appropriately licensed to drive it.  Wow.
More details here: https://wgntv.com/2018/10/08/new-york-limo-crashed-that-killed-20-most-deadly-us-crash-since-2009/
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cl94 on October 08, 2018, 01:58:09 PM
I'm pretty familiar with this area myself, living maybe 45 minutes away and driving through relatively often.

Even if this was the old configuration, the limo would have likely rolled over when it hit the bottom. IIRC, it was a 25 MPH curve. Limo would have run straight into a tree with the same result. There's a good reason trucks are directed to use 7-30A heading downhill here - it's one of the steepest sustained grades on a state highway in NY and easily avoidable. The current configuration is actually the result of a horrific accident in 2008. It's a known trouble spot.

30A needs to be the clear through route there. No ifs, ands, or buts. Majority of traffic to/from the south hops on I-88. It's roughly an 85-15 split in favor of 30A.

I'd still argue the current configuration is safer than what it was just because of sightlines. And short of a very costly realignment project to reduce the grade, there isn't a ton that could be done to 30 here. The one thing I could see them doing is rerouting 30 along Truck 30 and doing a maintenance swap with the county so they can legally ban all trucks/commercial vehicles. Under NY law, they cannot ban trucks from state highways unless said state highway is a parkway or there are geometric constraints.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 08, 2018, 02:36:17 PM
And with a viable alternative very close by, what motive is there to further refine the route?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 08, 2018, 02:37:28 PM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.

Under NY law, they cannot ban trucks from state highways unless said state highway is a parkway or there are geometric constraints.

Am I missing something, or is a steep grade not a geometric constraint?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 08, 2018, 02:47:28 PM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Like these?

https://goo.gl/maps/B2cYAVcbxRF2
https://goo.gl/maps/HzZFTqhSWMw
https://goo.gl/maps/ywaPzJjn8cu
https://goo.gl/maps/vy8saD3hqKD2
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 08, 2018, 03:01:32 PM
and it all gets dirtier and dirtier.
Owner was convicted on federal fraud charges, was FBI informant in a very dirty "terrorism" case; limo business failed at least 4 inspections - but I assume FBI "get out of jail free" card worked....
Can it get any worse?
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/FBI-informant-in-terror-stings-owned-limo-in-13290392.php
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on October 08, 2018, 03:02:10 PM
and it all gets dirtier and dirtier.
Owner was convicted on federal fraud charges, was FBI informant in a very dirty "terrorism" case; limo business failed at least 4 inspections - but I assume FBI "get out of jail free" card worked....
Can it get any worse?
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/FBI-informant-in-terror-stings-owned-limo-in-13290392.php


Tempting fate?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: empirestate on October 08, 2018, 03:04:52 PM
For empirestate:  previously, the intersection was a very skewed-angle intersection located in front of the first house to the southeast of Apple Barrel...you can make out the former NY 30 alignment in the clearing across the road from Apple Barrel.  The intersection was realigned to the current 90-degree angle with left turn lanes added.  It was also later than 2008...in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

Ah, yes—I'm thinking 2008 because that's what I remember from the articles. Certainly, NYSDOT has been on this huge kick of realigning as a T-intersection anything that isn't one already. I wonder if this incident won't put a hold on that policy, even for a moment.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 08, 2018, 04:04:44 PM
For Scott/Beltway:  if you haven't seen the photos yet, the center of this is approximately where the limo crashed. (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7003068,-74.3016772,3a,75y,209.18h,84.43t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sy7gIE_-G66KvKgJd29ocfQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo0.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3Dy7gIE_-G66KvKgJd29ocfQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D329.29852%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100)  There is a 3-4ft high earthen berm behind the bushes.

Still doesn't really show what happened, although hitting an embankment could be almost like hitting a concrete wall in terms of G-forces.

My comments aren't meant to be morbid, one of my highway engineering jobs was working in an accident review unit where various highway and vehicle safety issues were worked on.  Some professional interest even if it was many years ago.  Just trying to understand a 100% fatality ratio in a vehicle with 18 people.  The comments about the possible design flaws in these "super stretch" limousines may explain a lot of it, they may tend to fly apart in a crash where a normal SUV would remain intact.

Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 08, 2018, 04:51:54 PM
and it all gets dirtier and dirtier.
Owner was convicted on federal fraud charges, was FBI informant in a very dirty "terrorism" case; limo business failed at least 4 inspections - but I assume FBI "get out of jail free" card worked....
Can it get any worse?
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/FBI-informant-in-terror-stings-owned-limo-in-13290392.php

I am not that concerned about his dealings with the FBI.  But  that the owner was running an unsafe fleet of vehicles is a serious and  maybe criminal problem.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 08, 2018, 04:56:51 PM
Yeah, an informant isn't that big of a deal. Neither are other unrelated charges.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on October 08, 2018, 05:00:01 PM
and it all gets dirtier and dirtier.
Owner was convicted on federal fraud charges, was FBI informant in a very dirty "terrorism" case; limo business failed at least 4 inspections - but I assume FBI "get out of jail free" card worked....
Can it get any worse?
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/FBI-informant-in-terror-stings-owned-limo-in-13290392.php

I am not that concerned about his dealings with the FBI.  But  that the owner was running an unsafe fleet of vehicles is a serious and  maybe criminal problem.

Reviews for his motel aren't that great, either. Cutting corners and pocketing the profits.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 08, 2018, 05:06:55 PM
So far, I don't personally know any of the victims whose names are out, but the family names of the victims and of their relatives who have spoken to the media are familiar ones in town.  I've heard one of the couples recently bought and moved into a house just a few blocks from me.  It was already a very different kind of tragedy from my perspective, given that I know the crash area pretty well.  It hit me again how close to home that this, what appears to be one of the day's top national news stories, occurred, when I crossed the Mohawk on Route 30 on my way home from work a little while ago and saw the all the news vans and the tents set up for tonight's vigil for the victims and their families at the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 08, 2018, 05:14:21 PM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?
Like these?
https://goo.gl/maps/B2cYAVcbxRF2
https://goo.gl/maps/HzZFTqhSWMw
https://goo.gl/maps/ywaPzJjn8cu
https://goo.gl/maps/vy8saD3hqKD2

So the answer would be, yes, there are signs discouraging truck traffic, but not thru-traffic in general (which is at least part of the problem, considering the limo was by definition not a truck).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 08, 2018, 05:35:53 PM
and it all gets dirtier and dirtier.
Owner was convicted on federal fraud charges, was FBI informant in a very dirty "terrorism" case; limo business failed at least 4 inspections - but I assume FBI "get out of jail free" card worked....
Can it get any worse?
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/FBI-informant-in-terror-stings-owned-limo-in-13290392.php

I am not that concerned about his dealings with the FBI.  But  that the owner was running an unsafe fleet of vehicles is a serious and  maybe criminal problem.

Reviews for his motel aren't that great, either. Cutting corners and pocketing the profits.

Yeah, a 2.3 out of 5 really sucks, IMHO, considering that I refuse to stay in anything lower than a 4 out of 5.  Here's a good one from 7 months ago:

Quote
this place doesn’t even deserve one star. i rarely do reviews, but this is necessary. my fiancé and i stayed for over a month. they lied about the price. they told us our room was $225 a week. then come to find out, each room is different. our room turned out to be $250 a week. we payed $900 for the first month and was told that that was a discounted price, seeing as we paid for a month. looking at the place, i could tell it was a dump. the sheet between the bed and box spring was filthy. the bathtub, toilet and sink were filthy as well. we were told they aren’t responsible for cleaning the rooms and there is no room service.
i also had a loud neighbor. him and his fiancé would fight, argue and nothing was done about it, when we complained on multiple occasions. seems to me they have favorites. this place needs to be shut down. it’s not only unsanitary, but should be condemned. the owners are money hungry and don’t care about there tenants.

Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/wqYD342LeoR2

If that's any indication of his limo business, then those were crashes waiting to happen.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: SSOWorld on October 08, 2018, 07:32:23 PM
Topic locked for 12 hours from time of this post to calm down the conversation
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: froggie on October 09, 2018, 01:30:42 PM
Before the lockdown and political-comment-removal, someone (I think it was empirestate?) wondered if NYSDOT might put a hold on some sort of program they have to rebuild intersections into T-intersections as a result of this crash.

I doubt that will be case.  T-intersections are safer than skewed-angle intersections.  There's quite a bit of literature within TRB and FHWA on the subject.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 09, 2018, 01:43:40 PM
Before the lockdown and political-comment-removal, someone (I think it was empirestate?) wondered if NYSDOT might put a hold on some sort of program they have to rebuild intersections into T-intersections as a result of this crash.

I doubt that will be case.  T-intersections are safer than skewed-angle intersections.  There's quite a bit of literature within TRB and FHWA on the subject.
Yeah, I really think the cause of the crash was stretch limos being death machines, plus the driver not knowing what they were doing.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 09, 2018, 02:26:26 PM
Before the lockdown and political-comment-removal, someone (I think it was empirestate?) wondered if NYSDOT might put a hold on some sort of program they have to rebuild intersections into T-intersections as a result of this crash.

I doubt that will be case.  T-intersections are safer than skewed-angle intersections.  There's quite a bit of literature within TRB and FHWA on the subject.
Yes, but this is about proactive vs reactive approach.
Something happened after conversion to right angle T means conversion was bad.
My opinion is that conversion  is most likely irrelevant to what happened. But this is not bureaucratic way of thinking....
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: PHLBOS on October 09, 2018, 02:38:29 PM
NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only.

The national definition I have read says that up to or including 15 passengers (and 1 driver) does not need a CDL.  Above 15 passengers needs a CDL with P endorsement.
I believe that 15 number includes the driver.  Such is the main reason why the maximum seating capacity for full-size passenger vans sold at dealers or rented out at rental car/van agencies is set at such. 

Back in the 70s, Ford (other makes may have done similar) offered a 16-occupant variant of its Club Wagon van (mainly for school bus configurations) but dropped it due to the varying maximum occupant vehicle capacity requirements.  Prior to the national CDL that took effect in 1986, several states set their own requirements.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 09, 2018, 02:58:38 PM
NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only.

The national definition I have read says that up to or including 15 passengers (and 1 driver) does not need a CDL.  Above 15 passengers needs a CDL with P endorsement.
I believe that 15 number includes the driver.  Such is the main reason why the maximum seating capacity for full-size passenger vans sold at dealers or rented out at rental car/van agencies is set at such. 

Back in the 70s, Ford (other makes may have done similar) offered a 16-occupant variant of its Club Wagon van (mainly for school bus configurations) but dropped it due to the varying maximum occupant vehicle capacity requirements.  Prior to the national CDL that took effect in 1986, several states set their own requirements.
Yes, you are right, 15 including the driver.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 09, 2018, 03:48:12 PM
AP via Washington Post: A look at limo crash victims: Veteran died on 34th birthday (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/limo-crash-claimed-siblings-close-circle-of-friends/2018/10/08/75361b30-cb62-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html?utm_term=.0f2031b072bd)

N.Y. Times: The Hidden Dangers of Riding in a Stretch Limousine (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/nyregion/stretch-limo-dangers-safety.html)

Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Stephane Dumas on October 09, 2018, 04:25:54 PM
AP via Washington Post: A look at limo crash victims: Veteran died on 34th birthday (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/limo-crash-claimed-siblings-close-circle-of-friends/2018/10/08/75361b30-cb62-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html?utm_term=.0f2031b072bd)

N.Y. Times: The Hidden Dangers of Riding in a Stretch Limousine (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/nyregion/stretch-limo-dangers-safety.html)

And these limos aren't built like the limousines of the past like the Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine or that 1969 Imperial for example.  https://www.imcdb.org/vehicles_make-Cadillac_model-Fleetwood+75.html http://www.imperialclub.org/Yr/1969/1969HopeLimo/1969BobHopeLimo.htm
 
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: roadman on October 09, 2018, 05:00:03 PM
AP via Washington Post: A look at limo crash victims: Veteran died on 34th birthday (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/limo-crash-claimed-siblings-close-circle-of-friends/2018/10/08/75361b30-cb62-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html?utm_term=.0f2031b072bd)

N.Y. Times: The Hidden Dangers of Riding in a Stretch Limousine (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/nyregion/stretch-limo-dangers-safety.html)

And these limos aren't built like the limousines of the past like the Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine or that 1969 Imperial for example.  https://www.imcdb.org/vehicles_make-Cadillac_model-Fleetwood+75.html http://www.imperialclub.org/Yr/1969/1969HopeLimo/1969BobHopeLimo.htm
 

In the early 1980s, I often saw an unique stretch limo in Revere when I was going to and from Logan Airport.  The car was built from the bodies of several 1975 Buick Century sedans.  To this day, it's probably one of the scariest vehicles I've ever seen on the road.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 09, 2018, 09:36:45 PM
NYS class E (taxi-limo) license allows operation up to 14 pax. With 17 or 18 people in the limo, it should be a CDL driver only.

The national definition I have read says that up to or including 15 passengers (and 1 driver) does not need a CDL.  Above 15 passengers needs a CDL with P endorsement.
I believe that 15 number includes the driver.  Such is the main reason why the maximum seating capacity for full-size passenger vans sold at dealers or rented out at rental car/van agencies is set at such. 

Back in the 70s, Ford (other makes may have done similar) offered a 16-occupant variant of its Club Wagon van (mainly for school bus configurations) but dropped it due to the varying maximum occupant vehicle capacity requirements.  Prior to the national CDL that took effect in 1986, several states set their own requirements.
So on a license situation: driver did have CDL, but didn't have bus endorsement on it; Was previously ticketed for exact that problem and told not to operate as commercial driver until issue is rectified.
Other previous  problems with the limo inspection: 25% brakes not functioning, brakes line not attached and can come in contact with rotating tire.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 09, 2018, 09:45:40 PM
Yikes. Based on recent reports, pretty much 75% or so of the fleet was unserviceable to be on the road. Lucky for us, the owner of the company happens to be in Pakistan right now, so good luck getting him back to the states.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 09, 2018, 09:52:10 PM
Yikes. Based on recent reports, pretty much 75% or so of the fleet was unserviceable to be on the road. Lucky for us, the owner of the company happens to be in Pakistan right now, so good luck getting him back to the states.
His son was running the business and looks like he is around. Not sure why owner being elsewhere is a luck, though. I would love to hear if FBI-related past has anything to do with him plainly ignoring each and every law without consequencies.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: empirestate on October 10, 2018, 12:56:17 AM
Before the lockdown and political-comment-removal, someone (I think it was empirestate?) wondered if NYSDOT might put a hold on some sort of program they have to rebuild intersections into T-intersections as a result of this crash.

I doubt that will be case.  T-intersections are safer than skewed-angle intersections.  There's quite a bit of literature within TRB and FHWA on the subject.

Perhaps, but people are saying otherwise. These days, that tends to have a greater observable effect on policy decisions than factual relevance.

(Also, of course, there will be certain specific T-intersections that are less safe than certain other skewed junctions. That may or may not be the case here, but whatever the case would be proven by the specifics of the intersection, not by the fact that one type is safer in general.)
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: mgk920 on October 10, 2018, 10:32:37 AM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.

I would fully agree with removing that part of NY 30 from the state highway system, turning it over to the lowest level of local governance in that area to be a local road.  It should not be a state highway.

Mike
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: PHLBOS on October 10, 2018, 10:39:08 AM
And these limos aren't built like the limousines of the past like the Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine or that 1969 Imperial for example. 
https://www.imcdb.org/vehicles_make-Cadillac_model-Fleetwood+75.html
http://www.imperialclub.org/Yr/1969/1969HopeLimo/1969BobHopeLimo.htm
That Fleetwood 75 was a factory-built limo whereas that '69 Imperial was an aftermarket stretch (much like today's limos).

Today, I don't believe there are any factory-built limos being made in/for the US market.  The last ones, at least in the US, were the 1987 FWD-based Fleetwood 75 and the FWD/K-car based 1986 Chrylser Executive (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Executive)

All of them now are aftermarket stretches/mods to existing sedans/SUVs/CUVs.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: roadman on October 10, 2018, 11:01:11 AM
Other previous  problems with the limo inspection: 25% brakes not functioning, brakes line not attached and can come in contact with rotating tire.

I had heard the problem that triggered the inspection failure was with the ABS sensors, and not the service brakes themselves.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 10, 2018, 11:35:59 AM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.

I would fully agree with removing that part of NY 30 from the state highway system, turning it over to the lowest level of local governance in that area to be a local road.  It should not be a state highway.

Mike

Unfortunately, in this case, as it was a limo driver, I doubt that would have made any difference here.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on October 10, 2018, 12:21:48 PM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.

I would fully agree with removing that part of NY 30 from the state highway system, turning it over to the lowest level of local governance in that area to be a local road.  It should not be a state highway.

Mike

Unfortunately, in this case, as it was a limo driver, I doubt that would have made any difference here.

Nope. If it's the shortest distance between two points, and certain vehicles are not restricted from it, drivers are still going to use it.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: WNYroadgeek on October 10, 2018, 12:41:19 PM
The son of the owner of the limousine company involved has been arrested:
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 10, 2018, 12:41:46 PM
Wow, just wow. This is absolutely appalling. Is there anything on NY 30 at NY 7 instructing thru/truck traffic to turn right on NY 7?

Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.

I would fully agree with removing that part of NY 30 from the state highway system, turning it over to the lowest level of local governance in that area to be a local road.  It should not be a state highway.

Mike

Unfortunately, in this case, as it was a limo driver, I doubt that would have made any difference here.

Nope. If it's the shortest distance between two points, and certain vehicles are not restricted from it, drivers are still going to use it.
Well, locals would know the deal anyway. Non-locals may still follow either posted route or map/GPS.  Non-highway bypass may not be shown on common maps, or shown as a finer line discouraging drivers. Many GPS programs now have road tiers, and designating stretch as a local road with reduced speed limit would prevent routing to that until it is last resort bypass for traffic issues.
Last, but not the least: this is not a heavily traveled stretch. Traffic count is just 1100 per day.  Most traffic (6200 per day) goes to/from nearby interstate and to urban core  and doesn't use the stretch. Some local traffic on 30 is for grocery shopping and people know what to expect from a shortcut. Trucks are already rerouted. So that really leaves not that much traffic to be concerned about. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a stretch limo with brakes issues among those few vehicles...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 10, 2018, 12:55:07 PM
Seems like the best solution would be to route NY 30 along existing NY 7 to NY 30A, and then truncate NY 30A to NY 7. Removing that segment of NY 30 from the State Highway system can't hurt. Also, NY 30 directly interchanging with I-88 can't hurt either. It actually makes a lot more sense than having the interchange with NY 30A.
I would fully agree with removing that part of NY 30 from the state highway system, turning it over to the lowest level of local governance in that area to be a local road.  It should not be a state highway.
Mike
Unfortunately, in this case, as it was a limo driver, I doubt that would have made any difference here.
Nope. If it's the shortest distance between two points, and certain vehicles are not restricted from it, drivers are still going to use it.

It might not make a literal difference, but it would make a symbolic difference. A State Route shield signifies at least some semblance of a standard for road quality, and that section of NY 30 just doesn't make the cut (IMO).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 10, 2018, 12:55:55 PM
If anyone interested, local newspaper took a dashcam video of the stretch. My impression signage and road are not that bad if driver is paying some attention. Maybe I am just prepared to see the T at the end? Anyway, here it is:
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Video-Driving-route-from-Route-30-to-Route-30A-13292988.php
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: cl94 on October 10, 2018, 01:00:24 PM
The thing is that, if a road is removed from the state system, it is far easier to place and enforce a weight/commercial vehicle restriction. Technically, a steep grade isn't a geometric constraint. There isn't really an enforceable way to ban commercial vehicles, etc. without adding an exception to vehicle and traffic law (and good luck with that, even in cases like this).

I'm quite familiar with these aspects of V&T law because I deal with them for work. The current signs, while a deterrent, are basically unenforceable because there isn't an exception for that stretch of road.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: seicer on October 10, 2018, 01:47:27 PM
It might not make a literal difference, but it would make a symbolic difference. A State Route shield signifies at least some semblance of a standard for road quality, and that section of NY 30 just doesn't make the cut (IMO).

Why? It's well signed, well paved, and ends at another state highway at a very typical intersection. It's in better shape than some other state routes that currently exist in the system.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 10, 2018, 02:00:00 PM
A lawyer for the company was on the news yesterday claiming the violations cited on the vehicle had been fixed, and they were minor in nature to begin with.

They don't arrest an owner of the company if there were no active violations on the vehicle.  Seems like Mr. Lawyer Dude didn't do a great job of spinning the facts here.

Also, in a few articles I've seen something similar to this:

Quote
The (lawyer) statement said Lisinicchia was "a loving and caring man who never would have knowingly put others in harm's way. The family believes that unbeknownst to him he was provided with a vehicle that was neither roadworthy nor safe for any of its occupants."

Anyone with a CDL knows the procedure:  It doesn't matter who owns the vehicle.  YOU are the driver.  It is the driver's responsibility to review the vehicle and look for issues.  The driver has to do what is necessary to check lights, wipers, brakes, fluids, etc.  If there are any issues, bring them up to the company, owner, etc.  If you believe the vehicle is unsafe to drive, don't drive it.  The minute you're on the road, you're the one responsible.

Of course, what if there's a safety issue and the driver doesn't want to drive it?  The owner will probably send him home, and he won't get paid. Or maybe, the owner says FU, and fires him from the job.  Sucks.  Big time.  The driver needs money to live.  He's caught in the middle.  But then again, such as in this case, he probably would still be alive, and so are his passengers.

The family is devastated no doubt.  But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jemacedo9 on October 10, 2018, 04:12:27 PM
The thing is that, if a road is removed from the state system, it is far easier to place and enforce a weight/commercial vehicle restriction. Technically, a steep grade isn't a geometric constraint. There isn't really an enforceable way to ban commercial vehicles, etc. without adding an exception to vehicle and traffic law (and good luck with that, even in cases like this).

I'm quite familiar with these aspects of V&T law because I deal with them for work. The current signs, while a deterrent, are basically unenforceable because there isn't an exception for that stretch of road.

One of the articles mentioned that the DOT "worked with lawmakers" back in '08 to restrict trucks from that part of NY 30. The implication was that in this case, NY 30 was legally restricted. It's an implication, no clue whether it's true
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Scott5114 on October 10, 2018, 08:35:54 PM
From the video, NY 30 doesn't look any more dangerous than any random state highway in eastern Oklahoma. I don't think NYSDOT has any fault here.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 10, 2018, 10:32:03 PM
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.  The crash could have been caused by defects that would not have been readily evident on a fluids/tire pressures/general appearance check.  Unsecured brake line has already been mentioned; also, one of the passengers complained about engine noise shortly before the crash, so compression braking might not have been available as a backup when the hydraulic brakes failed.  Ultimately there is not much a driver can do other than to quit when the vehicle owner does not have safety as his or her top priority.  This is an extreme solution to a problem that looks otherwise containable until the vehicle is out of control and it is too late.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 10, 2018, 11:21:58 PM
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has begun their investigation.
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Pages/HWY19MH001.aspx

The state and/or local police will also have their own investigation.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 11, 2018, 10:03:51 AM
It might not make a literal difference, but it would make a symbolic difference. A State Route shield signifies at least some semblance of a standard for road quality, and that section of NY 30 just doesn't make the cut (IMO).
Why? It's well signed, well paved, and ends at another state highway at a very typical intersection. It's in better shape than some other state routes that currently exist in the system.

I don't disagree - I get to drive NY 286 with some frequency, so am well aware! - but I'm thinking primarily of the track record of accidents at the bottom, not the actual condition of the road.
And the fact that continuing on NY 30 requires a turn, which is acceptable in a town or village, or as part of a concurrency, but less so in a rural area where drivers tend to be going faster and may not be expecting a stop sign, much less at the bottom of hill with little warning and at a T-intersection requiring a turn.

From the video, NY 30 doesn't look any more dangerous than any random state highway in eastern Oklahoma. I don't think NYSDOT has any fault here.

I don't think NYSDOT is at fault per se, and I don't think the road itself is dangerous. But again, the "through" route does require a left turn - which doesn't always mesh well with driver expectations - and not to mention at the bottom of a long hill on a cross-state route that otherwise maintains continuity.

At a minimum, that stop sign - and associated left turn - are an unexpected setback on an otherwise high-quality state highway. The average driver almost certainly isn't expecting to come to a complete stop between NY 7 and Schoharie.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 11, 2018, 10:07:35 AM
But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.

I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.  The crash could have been caused by defects that would not have been readily evident on a fluids/tire pressures/general appearance check.  Unsecured brake line has already been mentioned; also, one of the passengers complained about engine noise shortly before the crash, so compression braking might not have been available as a backup when the hydraulic brakes failed.  Ultimately there is not much a driver can do other than to quit when the vehicle owner does not have safety as his or her top priority.  This is an extreme solution to a problem that looks otherwise containable until the vehicle is out of control and it is too late.

I tend to agree with JN here, only because I know plenty of people who operate vehicles all the time with limited knowledge of potential issues and how to handle them. And in their own vehicles, much less a vehicle for which a third party is responsible for maintenance and so forth.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 11, 2018, 10:36:01 AM
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.  The crash could have been caused by defects that would not have been readily evident on a fluids/tire pressures/general appearance check.  Unsecured brake line has already been mentioned; also, one of the passengers complained about engine noise shortly before the crash, so compression braking might not have been available as a backup when the hydraulic brakes failed.  Ultimately there is not much a driver can do other than to quit when the vehicle owner does not have safety as his or her top priority.  This is an extreme solution to a problem that looks otherwise containable until the vehicle is out of control and it is too late.

A CDL driver, as part of their pre-trip inspection, is required to check fluid levels.  They are required to check tire pressure.  They are required to check windshield wipers.  They are required to make sure every light on that vehicle lights up.  They are required to check their air brakes. They are required to check airbrake safety systems by pumping their brakes to let the air out, which should result in an alarm going off at about 60 psi, and the air brakes automatically engaging at 30psi (not applicable to limos, but possibly limo buses if equipped with air brakes).  There's at least 10 things to look at before taking the truck out on the road.  These are all requirements on the driver.  A dangling brake line may be trickier to see, but if the passengers hear an issue, most likely the driver does also.  If that's the case, pull over and don't continue the drive.  Even if the trucking company has a team of people looking at the truck prior to it going on the road, ultimately the driver should be part of that team, or still do their own inspections.

Honestly, most CDL drivers don't do all their basic checks, or they ignore issues, and that's why we have so many dangerous trucks on the road.  That's why we need weigh stations, and they frequently put trucks out of service when there's an issue.  That creates a lot more headaches - it's way easier and cheaper to do repairs at a truckers' warehouse or depot than in a parking lot of a rural highway.   

Does it take additional time to do these inspections?  Yep.  But it needs to be done.  Because ultimately, you're the driver of the vehicle, not the kid inspecting a fleet of vehicles, or a guy sitting behind a desk at the warehouse or office.  And because ultimately, you want to be alive and make it home at the end of your day.  In this instance, the driver, 17 passengers, and 2 people not associated with this party whatsoever are being buried this week.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 11, 2018, 10:39:39 AM
But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.

I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.  The crash could have been caused by defects that would not have been readily evident on a fluids/tire pressures/general appearance check.  Unsecured brake line has already been mentioned; also, one of the passengers complained about engine noise shortly before the crash, so compression braking might not have been available as a backup when the hydraulic brakes failed.  Ultimately there is not much a driver can do other than to quit when the vehicle owner does not have safety as his or her top priority.  This is an extreme solution to a problem that looks otherwise containable until the vehicle is out of control and it is too late.

I tend to agree with JN here, only because I know plenty of people who operate vehicles all the time with limited knowledge of potential issues and how to handle them. And in their own vehicles, much less a vehicle for which a third party is responsible for maintenance and so forth.
However, there is one complicating factor:
Driver was ticketed for lack of proper license (passenger endorsement on a CDL)  for the job - yet continued to operate beyond his license. That is something the driver should be aware of without any doubt. This IS black and white.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jemacedo9 on October 11, 2018, 11:05:54 AM
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.  The crash could have been caused by defects that would not have been readily evident on a fluids/tire pressures/general appearance check.  Unsecured brake line has already been mentioned; also, one of the passengers complained about engine noise shortly before the crash, so compression braking might not have been available as a backup when the hydraulic brakes failed.  Ultimately there is not much a driver can do other than to quit when the vehicle owner does not have safety as his or her top priority.  This is an extreme solution to a problem that looks otherwise containable until the vehicle is out of control and it is too late.

A CDL driver, as part of their pre-trip inspection, is required to check fluid levels.  They are required to check tire pressure.  They are required to check windshield wipers.  They are required to make sure every light on that vehicle lights up.  They are required to check their air brakes. They are required to check airbrake safety systems by pumping their brakes to let the air out, which should result in an alarm going off at about 60 psi, and the air brakes automatically engaging at 30psi (not applicable to limos, but possibly limo buses if equipped with air brakes).  There's at least 10 things to look at before taking the truck out on the road.  These are all requirements on the driver.  A dangling brake line may be trickier to see, but if the passengers hear an issue, most likely the driver does also.  If that's the case, pull over and don't continue the drive.  Even if the trucking company has a team of people looking at the truck prior to it going on the road, ultimately the driver should be part of that team, or still do their own inspections.

Honestly, most CDL drivers don't do all their basic checks, or they ignore issues, and that's why we have so many dangerous trucks on the road.  That's why we need weigh stations, and they frequently put trucks out of service when there's an issue.  That creates a lot more headaches - it's way easier and cheaper to do repairs at a truckers' warehouse or depot than in a parking lot of a rural highway.   

Does it take additional time to do these inspections?  Yep.  But it needs to be done.  Because ultimately, you're the driver of the vehicle, not the kid inspecting a fleet of vehicles, or a guy sitting behind a desk at the warehouse or office.  And because ultimately, you want to be alive and make it home at the end of your day.  In this instance, the driver, 17 passengers, and 2 people not associated with this party whatsoever are being buried this week.

Agreed...and worse, in this case, I believe the initial vehicle was a limo bus/van, which broke down; and this limo was a mid-trip replacement vehicle.  How many drivers would do a full check in this situation, with passengers standing around frustrated?

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 11, 2018, 11:55:12 AM

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
he did have a CDL.  There was no passenger endorsement, though, so he had no right to operate that limo.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jemacedo9 on October 11, 2018, 12:42:45 PM

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
he did have a CDL.  There was no passenger endorsement, though, so he had no right to operate that limo.

That's an important clarification...thanks! 
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 11, 2018, 01:05:23 PM

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
he did have a CDL.  There was no passenger endorsement, though, so he had no right to operate that limo.

That's an important clarification...thanks! 

Another important clarification here: How many people was the limo designed to hold?

I'm also trying to figure out when the Passenger endorsement is required.  Clearly if there were more than 15 people in the vehicle, it was required.  But, was it required just operate a limo?  It doesn't appear so.  Was it required to operate a limo only if it could seat more than 15 people, regardless of the number of people in it? Possibly.  So technically, if the limo was only designed to hold 15 or fewer people, the driver may not have needed the endorsement to drive the vehicle, if he only permitted 15 or fewer people in the limo.  Once he had 16 or more in there, not only was the P endorsement necessary, but then he's overloading the vehicle as well.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 11, 2018, 02:09:36 PM

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
he did have a CDL.  There was no passenger endorsement, though, so he had no right to operate that limo.

That's an important clarification...thanks! 

Another important clarification here: How many people was the limo designed to hold?

I'm also trying to figure out when the Passenger endorsement is required.  Clearly if there were more than 15 people in the vehicle, it was required.  But, was it required just operate a limo?  It doesn't appear so.  Was it required to operate a limo only if it could seat more than 15 people, regardless of the number of people in it? Possibly.  So technically, if the limo was only designed to hold 15 or fewer people, the driver may not have needed the endorsement to drive the vehicle, if he only permitted 15 or fewer people in the limo.  Once he had 16 or more in there, not only was the P endorsement necessary, but then he's overloading the vehicle as well.
Once again quote from the local newspaper: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Prestige-drove-Excursion-for-months-after-13292860.php
Quote
The driver of a limousine that crashed in Schoharie and killed 20 people last weekend was stopped by a state trooper in Saratoga Springs in late August and — after transporting 11 people in the same limo — cited for operating the vehicle without a proper license, according to a police report obtained by the Times Union.
It appears state police assumes passenger endorsement is required for the vehicle even with less than 15 people.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 11, 2018, 02:30:22 PM

And as pointed out above...the driver wasn't CDL licensed anyway...
he did have a CDL.  There was no passenger endorsement, though, so he had no right to operate that limo.

That's an important clarification...thanks! 

Another important clarification here: How many people was the limo designed to hold?

I'm also trying to figure out when the Passenger endorsement is required.  Clearly if there were more than 15 people in the vehicle, it was required.  But, was it required just operate a limo?  It doesn't appear so.  Was it required to operate a limo only if it could seat more than 15 people, regardless of the number of people in it? Possibly.  So technically, if the limo was only designed to hold 15 or fewer people, the driver may not have needed the endorsement to drive the vehicle, if he only permitted 15 or fewer people in the limo.  Once he had 16 or more in there, not only was the P endorsement necessary, but then he's overloading the vehicle as well.
Once again quote from the local newspaper: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Prestige-drove-Excursion-for-months-after-13292860.php
Quote
The driver of a limousine that crashed in Schoharie and killed 20 people last weekend was stopped by a state trooper in Saratoga Springs in late August and — after transporting 11 people in the same limo — cited for operating the vehicle without a proper license, according to a police report obtained by the Times Union.
It appears state police assumes passenger endorsement is required for the vehicle even with less than 15 people.

Further down in the article:

Quote
Lisinicchia had a CDL-A license that allowed him to drive trucks but he lacked the additional permit needed to legally drive a vehicle capable of holding more than 15 passengers.

So that's definitely when it's needed - when the vehicle can hold more than 15.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 11, 2018, 02:45:30 PM
But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.
I tend to agree with JN here, only because I know plenty of people who operate vehicles all the time with limited knowledge of potential issues and how to handle them. And in their own vehicles, much less a vehicle for which a third party is responsible for maintenance and so forth.
However, there is one complicating factor:
Driver was ticketed for lack of proper license (passenger endorsement on a CDL)  for the job - yet continued to operate beyond his license. That is something the driver should be aware of without any doubt. This IS black and white.

Certainly - I agree, but that is a separate discussion.
To be clear, I am not seeking to defend the driver, but he isn't necessarily 100% responsible. Primarily responsible, yes, but not necessarily wholly responsible based on what limited evidence we have.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 11, 2018, 03:01:29 PM
But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.
I tend to agree with JN here, only because I know plenty of people who operate vehicles all the time with limited knowledge of potential issues and how to handle them. And in their own vehicles, much less a vehicle for which a third party is responsible for maintenance and so forth.
However, there is one complicating factor:
Driver was ticketed for lack of proper license (passenger endorsement on a CDL)  for the job - yet continued to operate beyond his license. That is something the driver should be aware of without any doubt. This IS black and white.
Certainly - I agree, but that is a separate discussion.
To be clear, I am not seeking to defend the driver, but he isn't necessarily 100% responsible. Primarily responsible, yes, but not necessarily wholly responsible based on what limited evidence we have.
A part of the question is if the driver knew about inspections and their outcomes as well as previous issues with the vehicle. And remember, driver was ticketed on same vehicle 2 months ago - so definitely it was not the first time driver saw it on the day of accident.   
DOT says vehicle lacked proof of inspection in September -and driver should be able to see the sticker without lengthly walkaround;  and that it had bald tires during inspection. There is a possibility that both were since corrected - but again, we had same driver who was driving same vehicle in August, and inspection happened on 9/4. Until inspection expired at the end of August and tires suffered unusual wear within a month, driver should be aware of vehicle condition from previous trips...

All these doesn't prove driver is at fault, but my impression driver was likely aware of the situation.
 
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 11, 2018, 03:14:21 PM
But even if the driver was issued the vehicle to drive, he ultimately should have not driven it.
I don't think it is as black and white as Jeffandnicole suggests where the driver's responsibility is concerned.
I tend to agree with JN here, only because I know plenty of people who operate vehicles all the time with limited knowledge of potential issues and how to handle them. And in their own vehicles, much less a vehicle for which a third party is responsible for maintenance and so forth.
However, there is one complicating factor:
Driver was ticketed for lack of proper license (passenger endorsement on a CDL)  for the job - yet continued to operate beyond his license. That is something the driver should be aware of without any doubt. This IS black and white.
Certainly - I agree, but that is a separate discussion.
To be clear, I am not seeking to defend the driver, but he isn't necessarily 100% responsible. Primarily responsible, yes, but not necessarily wholly responsible based on what limited evidence we have.
A part of the question is if the driver knew about inspections and their outcomes as well as previous issues with the vehicle. And remember, driver was ticketed on same vehicle 2 months ago - so definitely it was not the first time driver saw it on the day of accident.   
DOT says vehicle lacked proof of inspection in September -and driver should be able to see the sticker without lengthly walkaround;  and that it had bald tires during inspection. There is a possibility that both were since corrected - but again, we had same driver who was driving same vehicle in August, and inspection happened on 9/4. Until inspection expired at the end of August and tires suffered unusual wear within a month, driver should be aware of vehicle condition from previous trips...

All these doesn't prove driver is at fault, but my impression driver was likely aware of the situation.

Taking that back partially.
here is a screenshot of 3 vehicle inspections done on 9/4: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4996320-Prestige-Inspections.html#document/p1
The top one, TOGALUX1, is the crashed one. but all three vehicles carrier had were deemed OOS.
Given they had 3 vehicles and 2 drivers, I have hard time believing drivers were unaware of fleet condition.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 12, 2018, 12:11:34 AM
We are probably going to have to wait for the NTSB report to know exactly what holes in the Swiss cheese lined up.  If the driver was not actually shown the paperwork from the failed inspection or afforded an opportunity to talk with the mechanic responsible, he might have been under the false impression that the problems identified were entirely technical in nature.  We do know that obvious problems such as the noisy engine and the bald tires were disregarded, and it is plain the driver lacked the required endorsements, so it is clear this was not an operation focused on 100% compliance on the part either of the driver or the fleet owner.

The NTSB can be expected to look into a variety of issues, such as who knew what and when; whether the inspection process should include provision for impoundment when certain critical safety defects are discovered; and even whether it was possible for a fleet owner to provide limousine service profitably in this situation while maintaining 100% compliance with safety regulations governing vehicle condition and driver licensing.

The pre-drive inspection routine Jeffandnicole outlines is for eighteen-wheelers.  We need to know what is actually required for limousines.  I highly doubt this accident occurred because of issues with fluids, windshield wipers, lights, or even the tires.  A factor could be a composite design/maintenance issue such as use of the wrong type of brake pad when performing brake pad replacement.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 12, 2018, 11:28:19 AM
Something about driving record of limo driver:
https://poststar.com/news/local/limousine-driver-blamed-for-crash-that-injured-two-in-glens/article_3cca7c86-3c0e-5973-99c8-eb6b7c0b1c19.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1
At-fault injury crash in 2015, an unpaid ticket...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: roadman65 on October 12, 2018, 11:36:37 AM
I heard that the son of the owner of the company is being charged (and been arrested) for neglegent homicide.

Also sad as many of the victims were from the same family.  I can't imagine burying 7 people (2 sets of siblings as well) in one household.  It will not be easy for those left behind for sure.  Reading the bios was even hard for me as many did testify that those who died were really nice people and even one of them worked in the NY Senate under a NY Senator.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 12, 2018, 12:10:47 PM
The pre-drive inspection routine Jeffandnicole outlines is for eighteen-wheelers.  We need to know what is actually required for limousines.  I highly doubt this accident occurred because of issues with fluids, windshield wipers, lights, or even the tires.  A factor could be a composite design/maintenance issue such as use of the wrong type of brake pad when performing brake pad replacement.

I'm not sure why you continue to discount this stuff.  And I don't know why you insist on making assumptions that try to make the driver an innocent victim here.

I don't drive an 18 wheeler.  I drive a 6 wheel dump truck with my CDL Class B, and everything I mentioned was required to show to my tester on my driving test.  I go thru and certify on a checklist every time I take my truck out on the road that I checked everything, noting any issues. All you have to do is do a quick look online for CDL testing requirements.  It comes up multiple times, often from state DMVs, as to the requirements when one has a CDL.

None of us know what truly happened here.  But when the driver is dead and the owner's son is arrested within a few days of the accident, we're not talking about accidentally using the wrong type of brake pads.  There were numerous ways this accident could have been prevented.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on October 12, 2018, 03:58:43 PM
I heard that the son of the owner of the company is being charged (and been arrested) for neglegent homicide.

Also sad as many of the victims were from the same family.  I can't imagine burying 7 people (2 sets of siblings as well) in one household.  It will not be easy for those left behind for sure.  Reading the bios was even hard for me as many did testify that those who died were really nice people and even one of them worked in the NY Senate under a NY Senator.

A number of members of the same family died in that boat incident during the storms at Branson, Mo., a few months ago. They had Kentucky ties (Lexington and Harlan).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 12, 2018, 07:56:46 PM
I'm not sure why you continue to discount this stuff.  And I don't know why you insist on making assumptions that try to make the driver an innocent victim here.

Let me explain why I am pushing back against what you are saying about the driver's responsibility.  It is not because I think the driver is wholly without blame.

*  From a systems perspective, it is natural to look at layering a defense against catastrophes of this kind by asking everyone involved to contribute to a good safety outcome.  This includes the driver, the fleet owner, the fleet operator (if not the owner), and the licensing authorities that oversee the operator and driver.

*  In the relationship between operator and driver, the operator has nearly all the economic power.  This includes the ability to hire and fire as well as detailed information as to maintenance and regulatory compliance of the vehicles.  The operator can do more not just to ensure that the driver has a safe vehicle to drive, but also to institute a good safety culture generally.

*  In a fleet scenario where the driver does not perform maintenance on the vehicles himself or oversee others who do, the driver (if he wishes to remain employed) sooner or later reaches a point where he has to trust others to furnish him with a roadworthy vehicle with which he can do his job.  Basic checks can identify some vehicles that have obvious safety problems, but not all problems that can result in catastrophic failure can be found through such checks.

I don't drive an 18 wheeler.  I drive a 6 wheel dump truck with my CDL Class B, and everything I mentioned was required to show to my tester on my driving test.  I go thru and certify on a checklist every time I take my truck out on the road that I checked everything, noting any issues. All you have to do is do a quick look online for CDL testing requirements.  It comes up multiple times, often from state DMVs, as to the requirements when one has a CDL.

My understanding is that eighteen-wheelers have similar pre-driving check procedures.

The vehicle with which we are concerned is a limousine, which was likely diesel-powered but had hydraulic brakes.

None of us know what truly happened here.  But when the driver is dead and the owner's son is arrested within a few days of the accident, we're not talking about accidentally using the wrong type of brake pads.

I beg to differ.  Pads not suited for the application absolutely could have contributed to this crash, if the driver were foolish enough to try to descend the hill without engine braking.

From the standpoint of analyzing causation, I feel the arrest is potentially a misleading signal since the barn door is always easier to close once the horse has bolted.

There were numerous ways this accident could have been prevented.

On this we can agree.  This is why I will be very interested to see which holes in the cheese lined up.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 13, 2018, 02:26:24 AM

*  In the relationship between operator and driver, the operator has nearly all the economic power.  This includes the ability to hire and fire as well as detailed information as to maintenance and regulatory compliance of the vehicles.  The operator can do more not just to ensure that the driver has a safe vehicle to drive, but also to institute a good safety culture generally.

*  In a fleet scenario where the driver does not perform maintenance on the vehicles himself or oversee others who do, the driver (if he wishes to remain employed) sooner or later reaches a point where he has to trust others to furnish him with a roadworthy vehicle with which he can do his job.  Basic checks can identify some vehicles that have obvious safety problems, but not all problems that can result in catastrophic failure can be found through such checks.

You may be correct for an operation with many drivers and many vehicles, where driver is assigned for the trip to more or less random vehicle.
But we're talking about an operation with 3 (three) vehicles and 2 (two) drivers.
Yes, economic power is on employer's side. However there are certain responsibilities for the employee as well. In this particular case, the driver was explicitly told - via a ticket issued by state police - not to operate the type of vehicle for certification reasons. Can you justify driver ignoring that due to economic pressure?

As for arrest of owner son's aka operator of the business... Looks like the owner and the business has a very interesting history of dealing with laws, and family has enough foreign ties. Junior doesn't have published criminal history, though.
Arrest (and release on bail once a passport was surrendered) seems an only way to prevent someone fleeing abroad. Especially given that the owner is already out of country - and I doubt he would set a foot on US soil ever again. I am not sure there is another simple way to make sure a person doesn't cross the border.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 13, 2018, 10:57:46 AM
You may be correct for an operation with many drivers and many vehicles, where driver is assigned for the trip to more or less random vehicle.

But we're talking about an operation with 3 (three) vehicles and 2 (two) drivers.

Yes, economic power is on employer's side. However there are certain responsibilities for the employee as well. In this particular case, the driver was explicitly told - via a ticket issued by state police - not to operate the type of vehicle for certification reasons. Can you justify driver ignoring that due to economic pressure?

From what has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the driver had a spotty record for reasons other than, and additional to, driving vehicles of a type for which he did not have the appropriate CDL endorsement.  This would likely have made it difficult for him to find other employment if the operator had fired him for (prudently) refusing to drive.  (I lay this out as a possible explanation, not as a justification.  I suspect there was a mutual backscratching arrangement that persisted because the driver was never confronted with a clear choice between continuing to drive and saving his own life.)

As for arrest of owner son's aka operator of the business... Looks like the owner and the business has a very interesting history of dealing with laws, and family has enough foreign ties. Junior doesn't have published criminal history, though.

Arrest (and release on bail once a passport was surrendered) seems an only way to prevent someone fleeing abroad. Especially given that the owner is already out of country - and I doubt he would set a foot on US soil ever again. I am not sure there is another simple way to make sure a person doesn't cross the border.

I don't really have a problem in principle with passport confiscation as a way of preventing a person from fleeing the country to avoid legal process.  I just wonder if the prosecution actually has enough evidence to win if this case gets in front of a jury.  Because prosecutors have wide discretion to charge, and all presumptions are in their favor when the evidence is first evaluated at a preliminary hearing (if one is not waived), it is possible for a negligent homicide/involuntary manslaughter case to get all the way through trial only to result in a loss when the jury decides there is not enough evidence to support the prosecution's theory of causation.  And this is the type of case in which proving causation will be absolutely critical.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 13, 2018, 11:23:40 AM
You may be correct for an operation with many drivers and many vehicles, where driver is assigned for the trip to more or less random vehicle.

But we're talking about an operation with 3 (three) vehicles and 2 (two) drivers.

Yes, economic power is on employer's side. However there are certain responsibilities for the employee as well. In this particular case, the driver was explicitly told - via a ticket issued by state police - not to operate the type of vehicle for certification reasons. Can you justify driver ignoring that due to economic pressure?

From what has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the driver had a spotty record for reasons other than, and additional to, driving vehicles of a type for which he did not have the appropriate CDL endorsement.  This would likely have made it difficult for him to find other employment if the operator had fired him for (prudently) refusing to drive.  (I lay this out as a possible explanation, not as a justification.  I suspect there was a mutual backscratching arrangement that persisted because the driver was never confronted with a clear choice between continuing to drive and saving his own life.)
I hate to say that... but how about obtaining proper endorsement?
And question is where is the line you don't want to cross. My impression is that entire operation was a bit past that line.

As for arrest of owner son's aka operator of the business... Looks like the owner and the business has a very interesting history of dealing with laws, and family has enough foreign ties. Junior doesn't have published criminal history, though.

Arrest (and release on bail once a passport was surrendered) seems an only way to prevent someone fleeing abroad. Especially given that the owner is already out of country - and I doubt he would set a foot on US soil ever again. I am not sure there is another simple way to make sure a person doesn't cross the border.

I don't really have a problem in principle with passport confiscation as a way of preventing a person from fleeing the country to avoid legal process.  I just wonder if the prosecution actually has enough evidence to win if this case gets in front of a jury.  Because prosecutors have wide discretion to charge, and all presumptions are in their favor when the evidence is first evaluated at a preliminary hearing (if one is not waived), it is possible for a negligent homicide/involuntary manslaughter case to get all the way through trial only to result in a loss when the jury decides there is not enough evidence to support the prosecution's theory of causation.  And this is the type of case in which proving causation will be absolutely critical.
The jury will be told that it is either driver's fault or equipment fault (or a combination of both). Operator was informed about driver improper license, and about vehicle being non-roadworthy. I don't really see how that can be argued with. Lesser charge may be possible, but I just don't see dismissing the charges.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 13, 2018, 12:12:30 PM
To put it on an equivalent example for most car drivers: Most can't work on their own cars. They take them to a mechanic and trust the mechanic makes the proper repairs. You're on the road and the brakes fail, or a light is out. You're responsible if you're in an accident or get a ticket. You can blame, demand money from or sue the mechanic or repair shop that made the faulty or incomplete repairs, but it's still you that got the ticket and are at fault.

...This would likely have made it difficult for him to find other employment if the operator had fired him for (prudently) refusing to drive.

That's a good thing. He doesn't have a license to drive the vehicle. He SHOULDN'T be able to find employment for something in which he's not authorized to do!
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 13, 2018, 01:27:47 PM
I hate to say that... but how about obtaining proper endorsement?

He could have and indeed should have done that, but if that were all he did, he would still have died, only with the correct paperwork in place.

And question is where is the line you don't want to cross. My impression is that entire operation was a bit past that line.

Yes, it was well out of bounds, so I wonder why it wasn't ordered to stop trading by the New York authorities.

The jury will be told that it is either driver's fault or equipment fault (or a combination of both). Operator was informed about driver improper license, and about vehicle being non-roadworthy. I don't really see how that can be argued with. Lesser charge may be possible, but I just don't see dismissing the charges.

I can see the jury tendering a not-guilty verdict if it deems the prosecution unable to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accident was not caused by some factor not within the control of an operator observing the applicable duty of care.

In Kansas there was a somewhat comparable case involving a bartender who continued to serve a cocktail called the "Stoplight" to a woman who was inebriated.  The woman subsequently went home and died of alcohol poisoning.  The DA prosecuted the bartender for involuntary manslaughter and the jury returned a guilty verdict.  The bartender appealed, saying he should not have been found criminally liable for an action (continuing to serve alcohol to an inebriated person) for which he is shielded from civil liability under state law.  The Kansas Supreme Court rejected this argument, as well as others that were based on what were deemed "jury questions," but threw out the conviction because the prosecution had not proven that the death could not have been caused by some other factor, like the woman continuing to drink once she returned home.

To put it on an equivalent example for most car drivers: Most can't work on their own cars. They take them to a mechanic and trust the mechanic makes the proper repairs. You're on the road and the brakes fail, or a light is out. You're responsible if you're in an accident or get a ticket. You can blame, demand money from or sue the mechanic or repair shop that made the faulty or incomplete repairs, but it's still you that got the ticket and are at fault.

Equipment faults like burnt-out lights are strict liability and in many jurisdictions there is provision for tickets to be forgiven if repairs are proved.  Fault or liability resulting from a failed principal-agent relationship is a more involved determination, often involving not just the car owner or the mechanic, but also their respective insurance companies.

That's a good thing. He doesn't have a license to drive the vehicle. He SHOULDN'T be able to find employment for something in which he's not authorized to do!

This is true, but the point here is that if we ask for this accident to have been prevented by the driver refusing to drive the vehicle, then we are asking for the driver to do something he had powerful economic incentives not to do.  He could have gotten the correct CDL A endorsement but would still not have been an attractive candidate for another employer because of the at-fault accident and the unpaid ticket.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 14, 2018, 09:16:11 AM
Honestly, it makes you wonder why he was driving a limo without the proper endorsement with this questionable company rather than an 18 wheeler to begin with. Did he do it for the love of driving, for a few extra dollars, or did he already have an issue that prevented him from getting a good trucking job to begin with?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 14, 2018, 10:00:45 AM
Honestly, it makes you wonder why he was driving a limo without the proper endorsement with this questionable company rather than an 18 wheeler to begin with. Did he do it for the love of driving, for a few extra dollars, or did he already have an issue that prevented him from getting a good trucking job to begin with?
Could easily be a weekend/second job.
There were reports that limo drove 1300 miles between inspections, in 6 months if I remember correctly. That was important as the vehicle was ordered off the road during the previous inspection.
Even with all the waits, 200 miles a month is not really enough for a driver to make living.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 14, 2018, 10:29:35 AM
Honestly, it makes you wonder why he was driving a limo without the proper endorsement with this questionable company rather than an 18 wheeler to begin with. Did he do it for the love of driving, for a few extra dollars, or did he already have an issue that prevented him from getting a good trucking job to begin with?
Could easily be a weekend/second job.
There were reports that limo drove 1300 miles between inspections, in 6 months if I remember correctly. That was important as the vehicle was ordered off the road during the previous inspection.
Even with all the waits, 200 miles a month is not really enough for a driver to make living.

Although most limo rides are based on time, not distance. We don't know what other jobs he may have had as well
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 14, 2018, 10:49:31 AM
Honestly, it makes you wonder why he was driving a limo without the proper endorsement with this questionable company rather than an 18 wheeler to begin with. Did he do it for the love of driving, for a few extra dollars, or did he already have an issue that prevented him from getting a good trucking job to begin with?
Could easily be a weekend/second job.
There were reports that limo drove 1300 miles between inspections, in 6 months if I remember correctly. That was important as the vehicle was ordered off the road during the previous inspection.
Even with all the waits, 200 miles a month is not really enough for a driver to make living.

Although most limo rides are based on time, not distance. We don't know what other jobs he may have had as well
20 years of truck driving are mentioned. Which is not too much for a 53 year old driver, but a good chunk of experience in terms of both time on the road and time to familiarize with regulations. Driver experience is surely something NTSB should look at, so we will see.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 14, 2018, 10:56:37 AM
Another possibility is that the driver was working another job that did not involve being on the road, e.g. the floor at Walmart.  I find it kind of difficult to imagine he was also holding down an eighteen-wheeler driving job:  don't those employers expect their drivers to be on call seven days a week?

Edit:  I suspect the immediate cause of the accident was the driver's failure to downshift for the hill.  If investigation proves that to be the case, then we may very well find that most if not all of the very real compliance issues are, in a sense, beside the point.  My experience, speaking as someone who has had experience with hill descents in several gas-powered automatics and who normally tries to get from hilltop to valley with brake lights dark the entire way, is that I am usually the only person going down any given hill that is not riding his or her brakes.  I have explained my method on this forum several times and while there are some who get it, there are others who are reluctant to take it on board because they believe it will destroy their transmissions, notwithstanding my repeated assurances that automatics are designed for this specific use and that I have never had to have a transmission opened for repair for any reason.

A person with a CDL A license with twenty years' experience in eighteen-wheelers is arguably at a disadvantage trying to descend a hill in a passenger-car conversion (which is essentially what this limo is) with automatic transmission.  Compression braking is more problematic with diesel engines of the types fitted to eighteen-wheelers because it depends on a retrofitted appliance that attracts regulation because it is a noise nuisance, so in practice I see tractor-trailers relying on friction braking to some degree.  Furthermore, many--perhaps most--drivers accustomed to manual transmissions are not aware that automatics offer similar engine braking capabilities, and thus do not understand how to exploit them.

The advantage of descending a hill in a way that keeps the brakes cool is that one can avoid discovering, to one's cost, how little fade resistance they may have.  The NTSB may very well find that the technical difficulty of providing adequate fade resistance in limos of this form factor justifies banning them.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 14, 2018, 02:57:59 PM
My experience, speaking as someone who has had experience with hill descents in several gas-powered automatics and who normally tries to get from hilltop to valley with brake lights dark the entire way, is that I am usually the only person going down any given hill that is not riding his or her brakes.  I have explained my method on this forum several times and while there are some who get it, there are others who are reluctant to take it on board because they believe it will destroy their transmissions, notwithstanding my repeated assurances that automatics are designed for this specific use and that I have never had to have a transmission opened for repair for any reason.

I too manually downshift an automatic on downgrades, with the intent of using the brakes as little as possible.  Riding the brakes down a long hill will shorten the life of brake linings if done regularly.  Within reason using the engine as a brake causes no harm to the engine or transmission.  I too have never had to have a transmission opened for repair for any reason, and am over 500,000 miles on automatic transmissions.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 14, 2018, 05:05:11 PM
Another possibility is that the driver was working another job that did not involve being on the road, e.g. the floor at Walmart.  I find it kind of difficult to imagine he was also holding down an eighteen-wheeler driving job:  don't those employers expect their drivers to be on call seven days a week?

Edit:  I suspect the immediate cause of the accident was the driver's failure to downshift for the hill.  If investigation proves that to be the case, then we may very well find that most if not all of the very real compliance issues are, in a sense, beside the point.  My experience, speaking as someone who has had experience with hill descents in several gas-powered automatics and who normally tries to get from hilltop to valley with brake lights dark the entire way, is that I am usually the only person going down any given hill that is not riding his or her brakes.  I have explained my method on this forum several times and while there are some who get it, there are others who are reluctant to take it on board because they believe it will destroy their transmissions, notwithstanding my repeated assurances that automatics are designed for this specific use and that I have never had to have a transmission opened for repair for any reason.

A person with a CDL A license with twenty years' experience in eighteen-wheelers is arguably at a disadvantage trying to descend a hill in a passenger-car conversion (which is essentially what this limo is) with automatic transmission.  Compression braking is more problematic with diesel engines of the types fitted to eighteen-wheelers because it depends on a retrofitted appliance that attracts regulation because it is a noise nuisance, so in practice I see tractor-trailers relying on friction braking to some degree.  Furthermore, many--perhaps most--drivers accustomed to manual transmissions are not aware that automatics offer similar engine braking capabilities, and thus do not understand how to exploit them.

The advantage of descending a hill in a way that keeps the brakes cool is that one can avoid discovering, to one's cost, how little fade resistance they may have.  The NTSB may very well find that the technical difficulty of providing adequate fade resistance in limos of this form factor justifies banning them.

Frankly speaking, this is a pretty plausible scenario. And there are a few mentions that cheap limo conversions do not change braking systems - and now there is a 20klb vehicle with 7klb braking system.
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).
I don't know what kind of linkage can be drawn between that and passenger endorsement, but I am sure prosecution will find one.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on October 14, 2018, 05:32:34 PM


Frankly speaking, this is a pretty plausible scenario. And there are a few mentions that cheap limo conversions do not change braking systems - and now there is a 20klb vehicle with 7klb braking system.
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).
I don't know what kind of linkage can be drawn between that and passenger endorsement, but I am sure prosecution will find one.

Passenger endorsement usually doesn't require a test, simply pay an extra $5 to add it to your driver's license. At least, that is how Arkansas does it (or did when I drove taxi). CDL you have to pass a test, again, at least in Arkansas.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 14, 2018, 05:58:53 PM


Frankly speaking, this is a pretty plausible scenario. And there are a few mentions that cheap limo conversions do not change braking systems - and now there is a 20klb vehicle with 7klb braking system.
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).
I don't know what kind of linkage can be drawn between that and passenger endorsement, but I am sure prosecution will find one.

Passenger endorsement usually doesn't require a test, simply pay an extra $5 to add it to your driver's license. At least, that is how Arkansas does it (or did when I drove taxi). CDL you have to pass a test, again, at least in Arkansas.
I doubt it is just a fee. Fee and a test is more believable.
NYS CDL manual:
Quote
      To get the passenger endorsement you must pass a knowledge test on Sections 2 and 4 of this manual. (If your bus has air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on Section 5.) You must also  pass the skills tests required for the class of vehicle you drive.
Section 4 is passenger-specific, section 2 is general safety (including engine brakes). I am not sure if previous CDL counts towards section 2 test, or it must be retaken for an endorsement.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 15, 2018, 07:21:20 AM


Frankly speaking, this is a pretty plausible scenario. And there are a few mentions that cheap limo conversions do not change braking systems - and now there is a 20klb vehicle with 7klb braking system.
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).
I don't know what kind of linkage can be drawn between that and passenger endorsement, but I am sure prosecution will find one.

Passenger endorsement usually doesn't require a test, simply pay an extra $5 to add it to your driver's license. At least, that is how Arkansas does it (or did when I drove taxi). CDL you have to pass a test, again, at least in Arkansas.

CDL used to be "how much would you like to contribute to George Ryan's campaign fund?" in Illinois.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 15, 2018, 11:55:06 AM
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).

I think we can take it for granted (though of course this should be checked, just to ensure that due diligence is done) that at some point, as part of the CDL A licensing process, the driver would have been required to demonstrate knowledge of engine braking on a written test.  But:

*  There is a difference between showing knowledge of something on a written test and being willing to apply that knowledge on the road, either in a driving test setting or once licensed.

*  Experience applying engine braking on one type of vehicle does not guarantee that the driver will know how to use it on another type of vehicle, even if both vehicles are covered by the same license category or by the same endorsement within a given category.

In regard to the latter point, the example that comes to mind for me is a friend of mine who, like me, had a Kansas noncommercial class C driver's license.  By many criteria he is a better driver than I am--he learned on a manual and has much greater motor fluency, so he is able to handle higher speeds safely, and achieves vehicle sympathy naturally while I huff and puff at it.  Yet, on a family vacation in the early noughties, he smoked the brakes on a minivan going down the 10% grade on US 14 Alternate in the Big Horn mountains in north-central Wyoming.  I expressed consternation that he didn't downshift, explaining that I had gone down the same grade twice in low gear without having to tap the brakes except for hairpin curves.  He told me that he would have done so in a manual, but the minivan was an automatic and he had not known downshifting for engine braking is also possible in automatics.

In order for having a CDL A license with the correct passenger endorsement to improve the driver's chances of negotiating the NY 30 hill with engine braking, I think the following would have had to happen:

*  Passenger endorsement requires both a written and practical test (not just a fee)

*  Practical test can be taken only at a CDL testing center near steep hills, over a testing loop that involves a hill descent for which the candidate is expected to demonstrate knowledge of engine braking

*  Candidate is required to take the practical test in the specific vehicle he or she will be driving with the endorsement, if it is granted

New York is not a flat state, but even there I think it would be difficult to channel all CDL applicants through a testing process that requires actual demonstration of engine braking.  In a state with very restrained topographical relief like Kansas or Florida, it would be well-nigh impossible.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 15, 2018, 12:13:32 PM
Now, for someone with a CDL license, idea of engine braking shouldn't be foreign. I thought it is part of a CDL test (a practice test I just found had that as question #3).

I think we can take it for granted (though of course this should be checked, just to ensure that due diligence is done) that at some point, as part of the CDL A licensing process, the driver would have been required to demonstrate knowledge of engine braking on a written test.  But:

*  There is a difference between showing knowledge of something on a written test and being willing to apply that knowledge on the road, either in a driving test setting or once licensed.

*  Experience applying engine braking on one type of vehicle does not guarantee that the driver will know how to use it on another type of vehicle, even if both vehicles are covered by the same license category or by the same endorsement within a given category.

In regard to the latter point, the example that comes to mind for me is a friend of mine who, like me, had a Kansas noncommercial class C driver's license.  By many criteria he is a better driver than I am--he learned on a manual and has much greater motor fluency, so he is able to handle higher speeds safely, and achieves vehicle sympathy naturally while I huff and puff at it.  Yet, on a family vacation in the early noughties, he smoked the brakes on a minivan going down the 10% grade on US 14 Alternate in the Big Horn mountains in north-central Wyoming.  I expressed consternation that he didn't downshift, explaining that I had gone down the same grade twice in low gear without having to tap the brakes except for hairpin curves.  He told me that he would have done so in a manual, but the minivan was an automatic and he had not known downshifting for engine braking is also possible in automatics.

In order for having a CDL A license with the correct passenger endorsement to improve the driver's chances of negotiating the NY 30 hill with engine braking, I think the following would have had to happen:

*  Passenger endorsement requires both a written and practical test (not just a fee)

*  Practical test can be taken only at a CDL testing center near steep hills, over a testing loop that involves a hill descent for which the candidate is expected to demonstrate knowledge of engine braking

*  Candidate is required to take the practical test in the specific vehicle he or she will be driving with the endorsement, if it is granted

New York is not a flat state, but even there I think it would be difficult to channel all CDL applicants through a testing process that requires actual demonstration of engine braking.  In a state with very restrained topographical relief like Kansas or Florida, it would be well-nigh impossible.

NY requires at least a written test for endorsement.
As for actual test with slopes... Not a big issue for the area in question. But then, should someone taking a test in Phoenix be required to use wipers? Rain is not very common there... Would you defend the same way someone who crashed in the rain because they didn't see the road and didn't know wipers?
  You really can do engine braking just as a way to slow down on a level road - even if for the testing purposes only....
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 15, 2018, 12:28:40 PM
As for actual test with slopes... Not a big issue for the area in question. But then, should someone taking a test in Phoenix be required to use wipers? Rain is not very common there...

Wipers as part of a driving test in Phoenix?  Yes, absolutely.  Although the aggregate annual rainfall is low, rainstorms when they arrive are often quite violent.  Plus, although southern Arizona is mostly desert, some knowledge of winter driving is necessary because of the climate north of the Mogollon Rim and the local microclimates in the "sky islands."

Would you defend the same way someone who crashed in the rain because they didn't see the road and didn't know wipers?

The two situations are not comparable.  Unless you silanize the windshield with Rain-X or similar (not a common approach, and not really effective without some airspeed to provide wiping action), there is really no alternative to the wipers for maintaining visibility in rain.  On the other hand, for descending a hill both the engine and the brakes are available.  What you are testing for is not skill or technique so much as the judgment to use the engine instead of the brakes to maintain a steady speed on the incline.

You really can do engine braking just as a way to slow down on a level road - even if for the testing purposes only....

Yes, and this is better than nothing, but it also fails to capture whether the driver will use engine braking on an actual hill.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on October 15, 2018, 01:36:53 PM
The test for wipers is probably just an equipment check. I know when I took my driver's test years ago, the examiner (a Kentucky state trooper) checked to make sure all lights, signals, wipers, etc., were functional.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on October 15, 2018, 02:22:34 PM
I expressed consternation that he didn't downshift, explaining that I had gone down the same grade twice in low gear without having to tap the brakes except for hairpin curves.  He told me that he would have done so in a manual, but the minivan was an automatic and he had not known downshifting for engine braking is also possible in automatics.

What is there to know, especially when he had driven manual transmissions and had downshifted on downgrades?  Every automatic I've seen has a way to manually shift gears.  Isn't this just common sense?  Granted my current 6-speed automatic has more gears to select from than my previous which was 3 speeds plus overdrive, 2nd gear on that was a fairly low gear.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 15, 2018, 03:26:16 PM
What is there to know, especially when he had driven manual transmissions and had downshifted on downgrades?  Every automatic I've seen has a way to manually shift gears.  Isn't this just common sense?  Granted my current 6-speed automatic has more gears to select from than my previous which was 3 speeds plus overdrive, 2nd gear on that was a fairly low gear.

The minivan in question (mid-nineties Dodge Caravan or Grand Caravan) had an automatic with four forward speeds, as did the 1986 Nissan Maxima I used on the same grade.  I am sure the brakes would have stayed nice and cool if he had coasted down in second gear, probably identified as 2 or L2 range on the column shifter (in the Maxima it was 2 range on a floor shifter).  I blame a gap in instruction.  As he explained it to me, downshifting an automatic to go down a hill is a skill, and he had neither been taught it in driver education nor picked it up elsewhere.

I think there may also be common misconceptions about how automatics work that prevent people from realizing they can be downshifted for hill descents just like manuals.  Torque converters have a lot of slip at low engine RPM, so most people recognize the term slushbox for an automatic.  This may fool people into thinking slip is also high at high RPM, and thus that engine braking is not useful or available in a gear range that does not have lockup.  In fact, neither is true.  Slip goes down to about 5% at 2000 RPM.  There is in fact a standard test for transmission function, the stall test, that relies on holding the wheels with the brakes and gradually hiking engine RPM until it stalls at a pre-determined RPM that is published in the vehicle's service specifications.  If it does not stall, this is a sign the torque converter is permitting too much slip and needs to be replaced.  When an automatic is downshifted to hold speed going down a hill, the crankshaft is usually turning at 3000 RPM or higher, so slip is basically negligible whether lockup is available in that particular gear or not (some transmissions are designed to have lockup all the way down to first gear).

One peculiarity of transmission design for some makers, such as Toyota, is the use of one-way overrun clutches to prevent engine braking when the car is coasting.  Effectively the car is in neutral since the clutch prevents the wheels from applying torque to the engine crankshaft.  I suspect this is an emissions control/fuel efficiency measure since it allows the engine to drop straight to an idle when the driver is not demanding power, but it does mean that if the driver wishes to elicit engine braking for a hill descent, he or she has to choose one of the L ranges so that the one-way clutch is bypassed.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on October 16, 2018, 04:26:32 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 16, 2018, 04:46:34 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.

It is particularly lengthy, though; you would build some incredible momentum if something happened to your brakes at or near the top.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Brandon on October 16, 2018, 05:00:19 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.

It is particularly lengthy, though; you would build some incredible momentum if something happened to your brakes at or near the top.

Nothing a runaway truck ramp couldn't help with.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 16, 2018, 05:02:19 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.

It is particularly lengthy, though; you would build some incredible momentum if something happened to your brakes at or near the top.
If something happens with the brakes near the top of the hill, you steer into the corn field and deal with angry farmer later.
If you overheat the brakes and suddenly realize you're on projectile trajectory by the time you're at the bottom - then you're in a real trouble.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: froggie on October 17, 2018, 10:26:48 AM
Quote from: hbelkins
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.

Average grade of 7.5% for about a mile-and-a-half.  Not particularly steep by Appalachian standards, but still easy to build up momentum if you're not careful.


Quote from: Brandon
Nothing a runaway truck ramp couldn't help with.

True, but also goes back to the upthread issue about NYSDOT funding and lack of right-of-way.  Because the grade slopes down to the right as you're heading downhill, you'd need a bit more right-of-way (and a lot of fill) to build a runaway ramp.  There are also several houses on that side of the road...depending on ramp placement, at least 2 or 3 of them would need to be bought out to avoid driveway impacts with a runaway ramp.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 17, 2018, 11:00:18 AM
Quote from: hbelkins
Maybe I'm missing something, but that hill didn't appear to be particularly steep.

Average grade of 7.5% for about a mile-and-a-half.  Not particularly steep by Appalachian standards, but still easy to build up momentum if you're not careful.

I am aware of runaway truck ramps and hill descent map signs that have been provided for grades as low as 5%.  The maximum grade on Interstates (without a design exception) is 6% and the Interstate system includes runaway truck ramps at locations such as I-80 west of Truckee and I-70 west of Denver where the grade is less than the maximum.

The flip side is that usage of runaway truck ramps can be very uneven.  If memory serves, Colorado has between 10 and 12 runaway truck ramps on its state-maintained highway system, but 90% of the use is at just one ramp, on I-70 near Idaho Springs.  I think this anisotropy may result from high-level design consistency issues that result in some grades being more deceptive than others.

Quote from: Brandon
Nothing a runaway truck ramp couldn't help with.

True, but also goes back to the upthread issue about NYSDOT funding and lack of right-of-way.  Because the grade slopes down to the right as you're heading downhill, you'd need a bit more right-of-way (and a lot of fill) to build a runaway ramp.  There are also several houses on that side of the road...depending on ramp placement, at least 2 or 3 of them would need to be bought out to avoid driveway impacts with a runaway ramp.

Also, the traditional design for runaway truck ramps--pea gravel in an arrestor bed--is more or less restricted to high-clearance vehicles, and I don't think the limo involved in the crash would qualify.  A paved ramp fitted with arrestor cables and winter heating (examples include US 6 at Avon Mountain in Connecticut and SR 431 in Nevada) could probably be designed to work quite well for autos as well as trucks, but there would still be significant right-of-way impacts.  The most cost-effective solution is the one NYSDOT already adopted--routing all trucks away from the hill--and the agency cannot really be blamed for failing to cater to vehicles whose braking performance is grossly substandard.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 21, 2018, 08:05:35 PM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
I wonder if this means that brakes problems started before that intersection, which is 2 miles before the crash? And if steering off the road into the field was an option?
And on a separate note:
There are more images of wreckage, showing few more feet of limo - still pretty intact:
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2018/10/limo-in-us-crash-that-killed-20-had-failed-a-road-safety-test/_jcr_content/par/video/image.dynimg.1280.q75.jpg/v1539064415587/limo-crash.jpg
https://s.hdnux.com/photos/76/13/62/16301209/3/1024x1024.jpg
I think I see the side view mirror in front of sixth window opening - meaning cabin didn't collapse. Ejection seems to be the cause...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 21, 2018, 09:41:27 PM
There has been some additional reporting:  the crash victims all died of blunt force trauma, and the driver's wife says he did complain to the owner's son about the condition of the vehicle:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/all-20-victims-limo-crash-died-blunt-force-trauma-autopsies-n922316

As for the option of driving off the road and using the increased rolling resistance of grass and other vegetation for an emergency stop, I think much would have depended on whether the driver was able to find a location with shallow ditch slopes before the vehicle gathered considerable speed.  If steep ditch slopes had caused the vehicle to roll, then the driver and passengers could very well have been no better off.

Edit:  In regard to the suggestions upthread that the driver should have been aware of the condition and immatriculation status of the vehicle and should have carried out pre-driving inspections, Wikipedia's digest of the recent coverage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Schoharie,_New_York_limousine_crash) notes that the vehicle had hydraulic brakes, and had somehow received a valid NYSDMV inspection sticker despite failing inspection (!!!!).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Jim on October 21, 2018, 10:23:30 PM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.

As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 22, 2018, 12:28:28 AM
notes that the vehicle had hydraulic brakes, and had somehow received a valid NYSDMV inspection sticker despite failing inspection (!!!!).
Not that simple. Limo failed specialized inspection, but did get a sticker for private car. Which is a different class.
Obtaining a passenger sticker is easy. For brakes inspection - pads on at least one wheel must be checked. Overall, that is the very minimal inspection intended to catch most apparent problems, but as long as wheel count more or less matches the spec you should be fine. Less than two wheels might be a problem, but 3 should be fine.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on October 22, 2018, 09:36:35 AM
notes that the vehicle had hydraulic brakes, and had somehow received a valid NYSDMV inspection sticker despite failing inspection (!!!!).
Not that simple. Limo failed specialized inspection, but did get a sticker for private car. Which is a different class.
Obtaining a passenger sticker is easy. For brakes inspection - pads on at least one wheel must be checked. Overall, that is the very minimal inspection intended to catch most apparent problems, but as long as wheel count more or less matches the spec you should be fine. Less than two wheels might be a problem, but 3 should be fine.

When Arkansas still did inspections, it was left signal, right signal, headlights, brake lights, wipers, horn  $5.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 22, 2018, 09:53:36 AM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

They certainly couldn't have been headed directly from Amsterdam to that brewery, or they would likely never come near - and certainly not south of - I-88. Unless the driver missed the turn for NY 7, which isn't an outrageous possibility.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 22, 2018, 10:07:58 AM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

They certainly couldn't have been headed directly from Amsterdam to that brewery, or they would likely never come near - and certainly not south of - I-88. Unless the driver missed the turn for NY 7, which isn't an outrageous possibility.
Anyone who assumes a limo or bus driver would take the most logical route hasn't spent much time riding in limos or buses.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 22, 2018, 11:28:07 AM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

They certainly couldn't have been headed directly from Amsterdam to that brewery, or they would likely never come near - and certainly not south of - I-88. Unless the driver missed the turn for NY 7, which isn't an outrageous possibility.
Anyone who assumes a limo or bus driver would take the most logical route hasn't spent much time riding in limos or buses.

I am not sure what is the most logical route for a vehicle as strange as a stretched limo. I did drive  in the area a few times, including Ommegang and entire Cooperstown beverage trail - and I had a few moments when I (in a pretty standard sedan) was thinking if I am actually going to make it on that road, or it is designed for 4x4 only.  I can see some logic in taking a detour to maximize interstate mileage and reduce local roads.
Difference between Google maps optimal routing (I-90 to NY-166)  and I-88 routing is 8 miles and 7 minutes; routing @Jim suggested is actually another 3 minutes slower.  And while US-20 is a nice drive, those NY routes through the hills are often less than great.
 
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: abefroman329 on October 22, 2018, 12:17:16 PM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

They certainly couldn't have been headed directly from Amsterdam to that brewery, or they would likely never come near - and certainly not south of - I-88. Unless the driver missed the turn for NY 7, which isn't an outrageous possibility.
Anyone who assumes a limo or bus driver would take the most logical route hasn't spent much time riding in limos or buses.

I am not sure what is the most logical route for a vehicle as strange as a stretched limo. I did drive  in the area a few times, including Ommegang and entire Cooperstown beverage trail - and I had a few moments when I (in a pretty standard sedan) was thinking if I am actually going to make it on that road, or it is designed for 4x4 only.  I can see some logic in taking a detour to maximize interstate mileage and reduce local roads.
Difference between Google maps optimal routing (I-90 to NY-166)  and I-88 routing is 8 miles and 7 minutes; routing @Jim suggested is actually another 3 minutes slower.  And while US-20 is a nice drive, those NY routes through the hills are often less than great.
What I'm saying is that I've been on enough party buses that have gotten hopelessly lost that assuming the driver knows where they're going or how to get there in a hatchback, let alone a large vehicle that may not be able to travel on all roads in the area, is a fool's errand.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on October 22, 2018, 12:39:27 PM
I am not sure what is the most logical route for a vehicle as strange as a stretched limo. I did drive  in the area a few times, including Ommegang and entire Cooperstown beverage trail - and I had a few moments when I (in a pretty standard sedan) was thinking if I am actually going to make it on that road, or it is designed for 4x4 only.  I can see some logic in taking a detour to maximize interstate mileage and reduce local roads.

I did some preliminary exploring of route options in Google Maps and felt it would take much more evaluation (and possibly access to other tools and datasets) to find a route that stayed on Interstates/US routes/state routes except for last-mile connections while minimizing challenge to brake systems that would likely have been grossly underperforming even if they were in good working order (the NTSB has not yet had an opportunity to explore this dimension since they are being afforded only severely limited access to the vehicle while the criminal investigation is still open).

And quite aside from Abefroman329's comment about limo/party bus drivers' generally slipshod approach to route planning, there would not have been much time for route evaluation because the booking with Prestige was last-minute, made after a separate party bus provider had cancelled at the last minute, and the party of 10+ was already late for a reservation at Ommegang.  (I don't know what kind of financial penalties this would have involved, but I would bet they are much higher for large parties than for individuals or couples.)
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on October 22, 2018, 12:48:21 PM
A strange detail I noticed in the reports (it didn't take very long for me, heh) - group was heading to Ommegang brewery.
Which is quite a bit further west along either I-88 or NY-7 (they run pretty much in parallel).
However, there is no good reason to continue straight along NY-30 into the stretch where crash occurred. Driver should have turned right on a previous intersection at stop sign. Assuming they were coming from Amsterdam along NY-30, there is no TO I-88 shield on that arm of the intersection - but there is one on NY-7 just past the intersection, visible from the stop line on NY-30.
As someone who's driven between Amsterdam and Cooperstown a few times, I would further suggest that the best route is NY 30 -> US 20 -> NY 80, avoiding that area and I-88 altogether.  I have wondered if the group asked for an intermediate stop in Schoharie or something that caused this routing to be chosen.

They certainly couldn't have been headed directly from Amsterdam to that brewery, or they would likely never come near - and certainly not south of - I-88. Unless the driver missed the turn for NY 7, which isn't an outrageous possibility.
Anyone who assumes a limo or bus driver would take the most logical route hasn't spent much time riding in limos or buses.

I am not sure what is the most logical route for a vehicle as strange as a stretched limo. I did drive  in the area a few times, including Ommegang and entire Cooperstown beverage trail - and I had a few moments when I (in a pretty standard sedan) was thinking if I am actually going to make it on that road, or it is designed for 4x4 only.  I can see some logic in taking a detour to maximize interstate mileage and reduce local roads.
Difference between Google maps optimal routing (I-90 to NY-166)  and I-88 routing is 8 miles and 7 minutes; routing @Jim suggested is actually another 3 minutes slower.  And while US-20 is a nice drive, those NY routes through the hills are often less than great.
What I'm saying is that I've been on enough party buses that have gotten hopelessly lost that assuming the driver knows where they're going or how to get there in a hatchback, let alone a large vehicle that may not be able to travel on all roads in the area, is a fool's errand.
I've been on a scheduled city bus which was hopelessly lost, so I know what you're talking about.
However I still think that noticing a blue shield while stopped at the sign is not too much even for a limo driver. Hence I suspect  the problem with with brakes...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on October 22, 2018, 01:10:42 PM
Anyone who assumes a limo or bus driver would take the most logical route hasn't spent much time riding in limos or buses.

I haven't, actually. I've rarely found using limos and buses to be necessary, and that's definitely not something I regret.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on November 11, 2018, 10:28:37 AM
And another piece of information from Times Union:
Quote
(witness) said that moments before the crash, the limousine had pulled to the side of Route 30. The limousine was rolling slowly forward on the shoulder, the witness told investigators, but its backup lights and audible warning signal were both on. The witness continued driving down Route 30 and had stopped at the intersection of Route 30A when the limousine, its motor roaring like a jet engine, descended the hill at a high rate of speed.

The limo driver, Scott T. Lisinicchia, swerved to avoid the witness’ vehicle, and the limo careened across the intersection
Engine sound is a last second attempt to engine brake I suppose?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on November 11, 2018, 12:17:35 PM
I've been following this story through the Wikipedia article, letting others take on the work of collating the media coverage, and this is what I have gleaned:

*  Another driver remembers driving the crash limousine three years previously and being terrified by it--the brakes were so bad he felt he had to stand on them just to elicit mild diminution of speed.

*  Because the limousine was a chop vehicle, the lines to the front brakes would likely have been left untouched while additional length would have had to be plumbed into the lines for the rear brakes.  This creates the possibility of greatly diminished braking efficiency due to crimps in the brake lines.

*  The previous driver also recalls the engine being very loud.

This additional reporting from the Times-Union, specifically the part about the limousine rolling forward while in reverse, leads me to think that the transmission quite likely was near death.  That kind of behavior is consistent with a failed torque converter, glazed clutches, major leakage in the hydraulic control circuitry, or a combination thereof.  Even if the engine was in good running order--and I highly doubt it was--it takes a mechanically sound transmission to elicit effective engine braking.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on November 11, 2018, 02:34:19 PM
*  Because the limousine was a chop vehicle, the lines to the front brakes would likely have been left untouched while additional length would have had to be plumbed into the lines for the rear brakes.  This creates the possibility of greatly diminished braking efficiency due to crimps in the brake lines.

Much longer hydraulic lines as well.  That means you need a much larger hydraulic actuator (master cylinder) and more hydraulic fluid than in a stock vehicle.  If all they did was lengthen the lines during the conversion then they would have a seriously underpowered braking system.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: steviep24 on November 19, 2018, 12:51:13 PM
The first lawsuit against the limo company was filed today.

https://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/First-lawsuit-filed-on-behalf-of-limo-crash-victim-13404850.php
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on November 19, 2018, 12:56:47 PM
The first lawsuit against the limo company was filed today.

https://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/First-lawsuit-filed-on-behalf-of-limo-crash-victim-13404850.php
As if that would matter. Owner is overseas and will not return, FBI covers his butt, and company probably has 2 more clunkers as assets.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on November 19, 2018, 01:09:51 PM
The first lawsuit against the limo company was filed today.

https://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/First-lawsuit-filed-on-behalf-of-limo-crash-victim-13404850.php
As if that would matter. Owner is overseas and will not return, FBI covers his butt, and company probably has 2 more clunkers as assets.

Didn't the son try to leave the county and got stopped?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 12:01:47 PM
Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on January 17, 2019, 12:16:52 PM
Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 12:22:05 PM
Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on January 17, 2019, 01:03:20 PM
Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

The NTSB doesn't have any say in charges in the crash - their final rulings usually take a year, which is well after most charges need to be issued against someone.  They are there to simply investigate and determine what went wrong, and what can be improved.  The DA should have absolutely no involvement at this point in the crash, other than determining how to proceed against the defendants.

Even the NTSB's findings and recommendations aren't absolute - they need to be adopted.  And even if they say that the road signage was partially at fault, that's a transportation issue, not a DA issue.   So why the DA doesn't want to grant access to the NTSB is extremely unusual, and those actions don't help anyone.  Lawsuits can still go forward by anyone who wished to sue, and proceedings will consist of what is known.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 01:26:11 PM
Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

The NTSB doesn't have any say in charges in the crash - their final rulings usually take a year, which is well after most charges need to be issued against someone.  They are there to simply investigate and determine what went wrong, and what can be improved.  The DA should have absolutely no involvement at this point in the crash, other than determining how to proceed against the defendants.

Even the NTSB's findings and recommendations aren't absolute - they need to be adopted.  And even if they say that the road signage was partially at fault, that's a transportation issue, not a DA issue.   So why the DA doesn't want to grant access to the NTSB is extremely unusual, and those actions don't help anyone.  Lawsuits can still go forward by anyone who wished to sue, and proceedings will consist of what is known.
Problem here is that after  3 months no technical expertise took place - the vehicle is still in temporary storage, and critical components are still in place. How long would it take before right for speedy trial will make DA to present the case to jury - without key technical evidence? Jury will have no choice other than "not guilty".
Not to mention that after things rust up in a parking lot, it would be impossible to determine if things were broken before the crash or as a result of a crash, so part of evidence is already lost.
I don't see any other reason for such DA actions other than killing the case. Legal problems with NTSB?  They did similar things hundreds and thousands times before and should know the drill...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on January 17, 2019, 02:55:08 PM
Somewhat related -- haven't NTSB activities been idled because of the partial government shutdown? I thought I recalled reading that somewhere.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 03:06:13 PM
Somewhat related -- haven't NTSB activities been idled because of the partial government shutdown? I thought I recalled reading that somewhere.
They were fighting for access for 2 months before the shutdown, and they did recall investigators after court intervened in anticipation of reaching agreement with DA office.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on January 17, 2019, 04:09:29 PM
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

I don't think that is necessarily the case.  I think she may very well be out of her depth.  A Google search on her name--as {Susan J Mallery lawyer} without braces--turns up hits for a law practice that focuses on family law/divorce/alimony.  Though there are also hits saying she has been an ADA for Schoharie County, it is small in population (33,000, fifth-lowest in NY) and she may simply not have much experience with multi-agency investigations.

As for how long it takes to bring cases to court:  last May I served as a juror in a trial involving a homicide that took place in December 2016.  That was 17 months to bring the case to trial, and we ended up letting the defendant off because we felt there was insufficient evidence his actions caused the death at issue.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 04:43:08 PM
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

I don't think that is necessarily the case.  I think she may very well be out of her depth.  A Google search on her name--as {Susan J Mallery lawyer} without braces--turns up hits for a law practice that focuses on family law/divorce/alimony.  Though there are also hits saying she has been an ADA for Schoharie County, it is small in population (33,000, fifth-lowest in NY) and she may simply not have much experience with multi-agency investigations.

As for how long it takes to bring cases to court:  last May I served as a juror in a trial involving a homicide that took place in December 2016.  That was 17 months to bring the case to trial, and we ended up letting the defendant off because we felt there was insufficient evidence his actions caused the death at issue.
Could very well be beyond her skills - but she is not the only party in the game. For example, state police are also involved in the investigation, and I am sure they do have enough experience. And if she feels she cannot handle this, I am sure there would be other options, like state AG office.
There was quite a bit of coverage, and looks like NTSB is giving up on a situation, and just prepares public for an investigation failure.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on January 17, 2019, 05:08:21 PM
I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 05:28:37 PM
I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.
THey were also talking about examining fractures etc. Sounds like all NTSB got so far is permission to take photos without touching anything. Which may or may not mean that they have a clear suspicion about what happened.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on January 17, 2019, 05:48:49 PM
I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.

NTSB is purely a safety investigative organization, so that by investigating the causes of accidents, safety recommendations and improvements could be recommended to the industry.  Their reports have no legal power over any aspect of transportation or any one particular accident.

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/history/Pages/default.aspx

The NTSB originated in the Air Commerce Act of 1926, in which the U.S. Congress charged the U.S. Department of Commerce with investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.  Later, that responsibility was given to the Civil Aeronautics Board's Bureau of Aviation Safety, when it was created in 1940.

In 1967, Congress consolidated all transportation agencies into a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and established the NTSB as an independent agency placed within the DOT for administrative purposes.  In creating the NTSB, Congress envisioned that a single organization with a clearly defined mission could more effectively promote a higher level of safety in the transportation system than the individual modal agencies working separately.  Since 1967, the NTSB has investigated accidents in the aviation, highway, marine, pipeline, and railroad modes, as well as accidents related to the transportation of hazardous materials.

In 1974, Congress reestablished the NTSB as a completely separate entity, outside the DOT, reasoning that " ...No federal agency can properly perform such (investigatory) functions unless it is totally separate and independent from any other ... agency of the United States."  Because the DOT has broad operational and regulatory responsibilities that affect the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system, and transportation accidents may suggest deficiencies in that system, the NTSB's independence was deemed necessary for proper oversight.

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 06:09:54 PM
I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.

NTSB is purely a safety investigative organization, so that by investigating the causes of accidents, safety recommendations and improvements could be recommended to the industry.  Their reports have no legal power over any aspect of transportation or any one particular accident.

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/history/Pages/default.aspx

The NTSB originated in the Air Commerce Act of 1926, in which the U.S. Congress charged the U.S. Department of Commerce with investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.  Later, that responsibility was given to the Civil Aeronautics Board's Bureau of Aviation Safety, when it was created in 1940.

In 1967, Congress consolidated all transportation agencies into a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and established the NTSB as an independent agency placed within the DOT for administrative purposes.  In creating the NTSB, Congress envisioned that a single organization with a clearly defined mission could more effectively promote a higher level of safety in the transportation system than the individual modal agencies working separately.  Since 1967, the NTSB has investigated accidents in the aviation, highway, marine, pipeline, and railroad modes, as well as accidents related to the transportation of hazardous materials.

In 1974, Congress reestablished the NTSB as a completely separate entity, outside the DOT, reasoning that " ...No federal agency can properly perform such (investigatory) functions unless it is totally separate and independent from any other ... agency of the United States."  Because the DOT has broad operational and regulatory responsibilities that affect the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system, and transportation accidents may suggest deficiencies in that system, the NTSB's independence was deemed necessary for proper oversight.

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on January 17, 2019, 06:22:22 PM
The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.

NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.

State police forces have accident investigation units that do assign fault and their reports are admissible in a court of law.  Likewise with most local police departments.  So it is not like there is a need for NTSB to do that type of investigation in the first place.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on January 17, 2019, 06:30:31 PM
The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.

NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.
Full reports and probable cause are not, but factual findings are.
https://www.wilsonelser.com/writable/files/Attorney_Articles_PDFs/016111508wilson-attorney-article.pdf
https://www.jonesday.com/files/Publication/26052bf7-4c92-42f5-8a89-f6a050c3f2b4/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ad2ea9e4-e287-4498-9614-80411b416d33/NTSB_Aviation_Article.pdf

It makes sense in a sense that someone still needs to work with crash evidence, and NTSB maybe the most qualified party for that. Local police department and DA plainly have no resources to get those facts...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on January 17, 2019, 06:53:33 PM
NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.
Full reports and probable cause are not, but factual findings are.
https://www.wilsonelser.com/writable/files/Attorney_Articles_PDFs/016111508wilson-attorney-article.pdf
https://www.jonesday.com/files/Publication/26052bf7-4c92-42f5-8a89-f6a050c3f2b4/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ad2ea9e4-e287-4498-9614-80411b416d33/NTSB_Aviation_Article.pdf
It makes sense in a sense that someone still needs to work with crash evidence, and NTSB maybe the most qualified party for that. Local police department and DA plainly have no resources to get those facts...

Indeed lawyers have been trying for the last 40+ years to find ways to utilize NTSB reports in court proceedings.

When it comes to highway accidents, NTSB doesn't have the staff to investigate anything more than the most high profile accidents, say the top 0.1% in terms of fatalities and/or property damage.  So you can't just pick up the phone and ask for their assistance; they are the ones to make the determination of what to investigate.

It is quite apparent that the Schoharie County District Attorney and the NTSB are having a major dispute over investigation protocols and the use of reports --

Limousine Crash in Schoharie, NY
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/pages/hwy19mh001.aspx
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Duke87 on January 17, 2019, 07:27:26 PM
This looks to me to like a turf war of the sort that is par for the course with government entities in New York.

The DA isn't trying to protect anyone or effect some particular outcome to anything... she simply doesn't want the hassle of having to deal with NTSB and feels no obligation to cooperate with them since she doesn't answer to them.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Beltway on January 17, 2019, 09:38:01 PM
This looks to me to like a turf war of the sort that is par for the course with government entities in New York.
The DA isn't trying to protect anyone or effect some particular outcome to anything... she simply doesn't want the hassle of having to deal with NTSB and feels no obligation to cooperate with them since she doesn't answer to them.

NTSB has a Congressional mandate to conduct its investigations, as the letters pointed out, and they need access to the vehicle for their investigation, which was being blocked locally.  The federal government will have ways to attempt to force compliance.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Duke87 on January 19, 2019, 12:04:02 AM
Oh the DA won't win. But she will make them force her to comply rather than doing so willingly.

Turf wars are not necessarily started with the idea of winning them. They can be started simply with the idea of "you're a pain in my ass, so I'm gonna be a pain in your ass".
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: US71 on April 07, 2019, 06:37:10 AM
https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2019/04/05/limo-company-operator-indicted-crash-killed-20-upstate-new-york/3381540002/

20 counts of criminally negligent homicide and 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: roadman on April 08, 2019, 11:26:37 AM
When it comes to highway accidents, NTSB doesn't have the staff to investigate anything more than the most high profile accidents

Actually, the NTSB investigates many highway, rail, and marine accidents that don't involve either fatalities or major property damage.  The findings in many of these accidents are presented in a 'brief' instead of a full report.  However, investigation of most accidents is discretionary.  With lesser accidents, the NTSB tends to investigate only those where it is suspected the probable cause may be related to an item on their Watchlist.  The exception is aircraft accidents.  As part of the legislation that created the NTSB, there is a requirement that the NTSB investigate every accident or incident involving a civilian or commercial aircraft, no matter how minor (yes, even the Cessna that lands at a small airport and veers off the runway onto the grass with no injuries automatically warrants an NTSB investigation).  This mandate is one of the reasons why the NTSB staff is stretched so thin.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on May 26, 2019, 01:07:39 PM
Braking news (pun intended):
According to the expert hired by State Police, the sole cause of the accident [..] is "catastrophic brake failure"
I have a hard time interpreting that statement...
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: mgk920 on May 26, 2019, 10:30:29 PM
Braking news (pun intended):
According to the expert hired by State Police, the sole cause of the accident [..] is "catastrophic brake failure"
I have a hard time interpreting that statement...

And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Scott5114 on May 27, 2019, 04:56:51 AM
And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike

Now, now, let's not blame Mike... he probably had nothing to do with this.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on May 27, 2019, 06:11:35 AM
And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike

Now, now, let's not blame Mike... he probably had nothing to do with this.
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.
Victims lawyers were shopping for compensation payers- state is legally immune as far as I understand; company has no assets worth suing, owner is a slick guy with FBI behind him, and getting him from Pakistan  is a challenge. So they aimed at county as a source of compensation....
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: jeffandnicole on May 27, 2019, 08:25:28 AM
And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike

Now, now, let's not blame Mike... he probably had nothing to do with this.
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.
Victims lawyers were shopping for compensation payers- state is legally immune as far as I understand; company has no assets worth suing, owner is a slick guy with FBI behind him, and getting him from Pakistan  is a challenge. So they aimed at county as a source of compensation....

So next would be...the auto manufacturer or the company that built the limo?
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on May 27, 2019, 10:09:29 AM
And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike

Now, now, let's not blame Mike... he probably had nothing to do with this.
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.
Victims lawyers were shopping for compensation payers- state is legally immune as far as I understand; company has no assets worth suing, owner is a slick guy with FBI behind him, and getting him from Pakistan  is a challenge. So they aimed at county as a source of compensation....

So next would be...the auto manufacturer or the company that built the limo?
Manufacturer will have a strong case that they didn't approve modification. Modification was done by a company which coldn't be located, likely non-existent.
If I  remember correctly, modification was done in 2001, and even statues of limitations may be in issue.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on May 27, 2019, 10:34:57 AM
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.

Why would the county have tort liability?  As I understand it, the crash happened entirely on the state highway system.  (Does New York allow counties to claim qualified immunity?)

The statement about "catastrophic brake failure" also does not address lack of engine braking as a possible contributing factor, which we have inferred from previous reporting is a focus of the NTSB investigation.

Given that the State Police is an arm of the state government, as is NYSDOT, I am skeptical of the independence and impartiality of the investigation.  The general rule of thumb these days is that sovereign immunity does not exist anymore, although the manner in which a state can be sued for damages is still stringently restricted by statute (I do not know where specifically New York is in this particular facet of tort reform, which occurred in the 1970's in most states).
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: kalvado on May 27, 2019, 10:50:15 AM
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.

Why would the county have tort liability?  As I understand it, the crash happened entirely on the state highway system.  (Does New York allow counties to claim qualified immunity?)

The statement about "catastrophic brake failure" also does not address lack of engine braking as a possible contributing factor, which we have inferred from previous reporting is a focus of the NTSB investigation.

Given that the State Police is an arm of the state government, as is NYSDOT, I am skeptical of the independence and impartiality of the investigation.  The general rule of thumb these days is that sovereign immunity does not exist anymore, although the manner in which a state can be sued for damages is still stringently restricted by statute (I do not know where specifically New York is in this particular facet of tort reform, which occurred in the 1970's in most states).
I don't remember details, but the county was mentioned as a possible entity to be sued for sure.  The problem for lawyers is that there is no rich entity to milk in this case.
Lack of engine braking is the most obvious question. Navigation to a difficult road is another. Driver, who according to latest articles "had enough tickets to get license suspended; the suspension was not filed due to clerical error"  is another nice detail.
To make things worse, NTSB is effectively kicked out of the case - they still didn't get their hands on a wreck. I would expect many things are no longer traceable.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: Rothman on May 27, 2019, 11:18:21 AM
One thing such statement achieve is that county where accident happened becomes totally not guilty.

Why would the county have tort liability?  As I understand it, the crash happened entirely on the state highway system.  (Does New York allow counties to claim qualified immunity?)

The statement about "catastrophic brake failure" also does not address lack of engine braking as a possible contributing factor, which we have inferred from previous reporting is a focus of the NTSB investigation.

Given that the State Police is an arm of the state government, as is NYSDOT, I am skeptical of the independence and impartiality of the investigation.  The general rule of thumb these days is that sovereign immunity does not exist anymore, although the manner in which a state can be sued for damages is still stringently restricted by statute (I do not know where specifically New York is in this particular facet of tort reform, which occurred in the 1970's in most states).

Just so happens that my capstone project was on the issue of transportation issues and sovereign immunity; did the work for FHWA.

Although total sovereign immunity does not exist, NY is one of the stricter states in terms of defining when someone can sue in regards to transportation agency negligence or other misbehavior.  In this particular case, I really doubt that the investigation deliberately warped facts to protect the State from any sort of lawsuit.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: hbelkins on May 27, 2019, 02:51:31 PM
Not sure why the state would bear any fault whatsoever here. Everything I've seen indicates that the hill and the stop condition at the bottom of it are very clearly signed. Besides, intersections like that are a dime a dozen in this part of the country (eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, east Tennessee). The grade and curvature looks mild compared to a lot of intersections I'm familiar with.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: webny99 on May 27, 2019, 10:45:08 PM
And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?
Mike
Now, now, let's not blame Mike... he probably had nothing to do with this.

Nicely done  :D
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: steviep24 on May 31, 2019, 08:29:57 PM
Braking news (pun intended):
According to the expert hired by State Police, the sole cause of the accident [..] is "catastrophic brake failure"
I have a hard time interpreting that statement...
Rusted out brake lines are a common problem here in NY with vehicles that have some age on them. They can give out without warning. Perhaps that's what may have caused this limo crash.
Title: Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
Post by: J N Winkler on May 31, 2019, 10:11:48 PM
Rusted out brake lines are a common problem here in NY with vehicles that have some age on them. They can give out without warning. Perhaps that's what may have caused this limo crash.

It may very well have done.  The problem with having "catastrophic brake failure" as the totality of the explanation is that the investigation really needs to look at why the limo was out of control as it was going down a clearly signed long downgrade.  If engine braking was available and had been used, then the limo would have been moving much more slowly at the bottom of the hill and the crash would likely have been much more survivable even if it could still not be avoided altogether.