Federal Crash Investigators No Longer Delayed
Feb. 1, 2019—After being delayed by the recent government shutdown, federal crash investigators can now continue to investigate crash sites, including one in Florida where a van collided with a swerving tractor-trailer, ignited diesel fuel and killed seven people in a fiery crash, reported Insurance Journal.
It's been four weeks since that accident in Florida occurred, according to the report. This was one of 97 transportation accidents that occurred during the shutdown that kept the National Transportation Safety Board from performing preliminary examinations.
Now, in 21 of the cases so far, including 15 aviation accidents that killed a total of 21 people, the safety board is opening belated inquiries.
The Florida Highway Patrol has done a good job of preserving physical evidence from the Jan. 3 crash, according to Rob Molloy, director of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Highway Safety.
At the same time, Molloy said, investigators worry that witnesses won’t be as reliable and the passage of time may limit the probe in other ways, according to the report. Molloy was the only employee in NTSB’s highway safety division who worked during the partial shutdown that began Dec. 22.
The shutdown forced NTSB to suspend nearly 2,000 other accident investigations.