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Saint Martin d’Estréaux english summary

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publié le 15 février 2006 (modifié le 9 avril 2008)

Technical inquiry report on the coach accident which occurred on the RN 7 highway at Saint Martin d’Estréaux (Loire)on the 15th of January, 2005

On January 15, 2005 around 2 A.M., a road traffic accident occurred near Saint Martin d’Estréaux, some thirty kilometres north of Roanne, at a round-about.

One single vehicle was involved, a coach carrying 52 people, going from Roanne to Moulins ; there were 7 seriously injured and 45 slightly injured casualties.

The Ministry for Equipment, Transport, Rural and Urban Planning, Tourism and the Sea requested the Bureau for Accident Investigations in Land Transportation from the General Council for Bridges and Roads to launch a technical investigation on the circumstances surrounding the accident and to draw up preventive recommendations.

This report assessed all the accident causation data and additional expert appraisal which focused on how the accident happened, ongoing activities and drivers’ rest times, organisation of the journey and the specificities of the said road infrastructure.

The immediate cause of the accident was the failed perception by the driver of the round-about, in spite of all the existing signs. Underlying causes having an impact on the driver’s perception could have been his age (70 years old), his professionally unauthorized status, the complex characteristics of the RN 7 highway and a poor perception of the on-coming round-about. The investigation also uncovered the customary unauthorised practices of the coach company and the lack of management of its coach drivers.

Recommendations were made, notably setting of an upper age limit for coach drivers, at least for long journeys, reinforcing controls of regulations applicable to coach passenger transportation safety, unambiguous contracts and improving the perception of the on-coming round-about.