Suèvres english summary
On Friday 23 May 2008 at about 02.35 a coach carrying 30 passengers, two drivers and towing a trailer, was driving at a speed of about 95km/h on the A10 autoroute had reached Suèvres (Loir-et-Cher) after leaving Tiznit (Morocco) on 21 May at 06.00 on its way to Les Mureaux (Yvelines), its company headquarters.
The coach suddenly veered to the right, hit and damaged the metal security barrier, straddled a 15m concrete barrier and then buried itself in the pillar of the bridge at PR140,658.
Despite the emergency services arriving very quickly the accident caused the death of 7 of the occupants, wounded 19 others of which 14 were seriously hurt.
The immediate and direct cause of the accident was the blowing out of the right hand front tyre, due to the cumulative effect of a long period of use with damaged body ply, probably linked to either over inflation or under inflation ; the consequences of this damage, the breaking apart of the plies, might have been accelerated by excessive use of tyre linked to a defective wheel alignment of the front axle (and previously by the advanced state of deterioration of the tie rod).
There was a determinant organisational cause ; chronic offending on the part of the business, especially in those areas that could seriously compromise transport safety ; non-adherence to rules on working conditions for drivers ; excessive speed ; overloading ; poor condition of tyres, deficiencies in the maintenance of the vehicle.
The results of the analysis have led us to examine five areas where safety recommendations might be useful :
regulations concerning tyres and the way they are checked
the conditions under which public transport operators work and the way they are monitored/penalised
the coordination of monitoring services for public transport operators and the making available of information
the wearing of seatbelts by coach passengers
protection measures on the right hand side of bridge pillars.
Five recommendations were made in respect of public transport, concentrated in the first three areas cited above. Their aim is to make checks more effective, to better regulate the conditions under which the profession operates and to improve the coordination of administrative services.