Lugos english summary
Technical inquiry report on the coach accident which occurred on the A 63 motorway at Lugos (Gironde) on the 29nd of August, 2004
On August 29, 2004 around 3:40 A.M., a road traffic accident occurred in Lugos (33), some 40 kilometres south of Bordeaux, on the A 63 motorway, north bound between Bayonne to Bordeaux.
It involved three vehicles : a mini van carrying 11 passengers, a light van carrying 2 people and a Spanish coach carrying 49 people. The human toll was high with 10 fatalities and 52 injured.
The Ministry for Equipment, Transport, Rural and Urban Planning, Tourism and the Sea requested the Bureau for Accident Investigations in Land Transportation to launch a technical investigation on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
This report was based on the investigations and expert appraisal carried out in particular to look into the circumstances surrounding the accident, the administrative and technical position of the light van and of the coach, and the conditions in which people were transported by light van between Morocco and France and by coach between Portugal and France.
This report assessed the impact of these various aspects on the causes of the accident and produced recommendations to improve safety.
It appeared that the severity of this accident, with as an initiating factor the bursting of the rear right tyre of the mini van, was the connection between two main factors :
The clandestine transportation of passengers in the light van in dreadful safety conditions (poor general condition, major overweight of the vehicle, tired driver) ;
The absence of seat belts in the coach, hence all passengers thrown out of the vehicle died.
The report highlighted the dangers fostered by the transportation of stowaway passengers, particularly on an international scale. The report recommended reinforcing inspections by launching a parallel information campaign on the theme and the description of risks when travelling using such clandestine road transportation means.
On a technical level, the report also recommended to accelerate the fitting of seat belts in coaches. Also, the report suggested looking into increasing the level of detail of technical inspections of all vehicles in use for more than 10 years.