Porté-Puymorens english summary
At around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday 20 June, in Porté-Puymorens in the département of Pyrénées-Orientales (66), a coach returning from Andorra and travelling on the Route Nationale (RN) 320 trunk road towards Foix, swerved to the right, put its front right-hand wheel in the drainage channel alongside the carriageway, suddenly jumped out of it and crossed both traffic lanes before leaving the road on the left-hand side and then overturning in the meadow below.
Two people were killed in this accident and 17 were injured, three of whom were hospitalised ; all were coach passengers.
The direct and immediate cause of this accident was a lack of attention by the coach driver who allowed the front right-hand wheel of his vehicle to slip into the drainage channel alongside the RN 320 trunk road on the mountain side, followed by his inappropriate reaction by suddenly steering to the left in an attempt to remedy this situation.
The characteristics of this deep and steep-sided drainage channel contributed to the coach leaving the road, by making it more difficult to regain control of the vehicle and bring it back onto the carriageway.
The analysis of this accident led BEA-TT to issue a recommendation aiming to increase the width of the hard shoulder on the RN 22 and 320 trunk roads in the descent from the Pas de la Case when this route is next redeveloped and in the meantime, to refrain from increasing the depth of the channels and to encourage users to focus their attention on their trajectories.
In addition, this accident provides an opportunity to remind :
Transport companies and their drivers of the need to avoid any sources of distraction while driving
The public authorities and associations why it is so important for seatbelts to be worn in coaches and of the need to hold regular public awareness-raising activities in this field.