NTSB Affected by the Partial Federal Government Shutdown

In Gallup, New Mexico on Sept. 2, 2018, NTSB investigator Steve Prouty and a New Mexico State Police officer are shown coordinating the accident site documentation work on Interstate 40, where a motorcoach and truck tractor semi-trailer collided on Aug. 30. (NTSB photo by Peter Knudson.)

The continuing partial federal government shutdown is having some additional impacts in unexpected ways, School Transportation News has learned.

The National Transportation Safety Board revealed a surprise for the school bus transportation field. It has not only been unable to investigate 10 new vehicle crashes, seven plane crashes, and two fatal railroad crashes, but additionally a school bus—tractor-trailer crash that injured 15 people is still in an investigatory queue line.

NTSB was also expected to release a final investigation report sometime this spring or summer on the fatal Iowa school bus fire that occurred in December of 2017.

In fact, when STN tried to provide some questions to NTSB officials, its media relations contact returned a canned bounce-back email message: “Thank you for your message. Due to the lapse in appropriations, I and the media relations staff have been furloughed. I am not checking or responding to email or voicemail during the shutdown.”

So if you need some help from the NTSB, it looks like you will be waiting for a while for an official reply.

However, accidents still can be reported to the NTSB Response Operations Center at 202-314-6290. Visit http://USA.gov for info on available government services.

Meanwhile, today (Jan. 18), an apology was posted at AccuWeather.com, about an article that it said was meant “to reassure consumers and businesses that, despite some media reports, there has been no degradation to the accuracy of our weather forecasts due to the government shutdown. Additionally, the article indicated that National Weather Service forecasters, despite not being paid, continued to issue life-saving weather warnings to protect people and property across the country, and the necessary data continues to flow through government sources. This intent was not well communicated through the article.”