The University releases shuttle crash investigation report
After months of investigation, the University shared the causes behind November’s devastating shuttle accident.
Months after a fatal accident shook the entire Brandeis community, federal records provide some clarity. On Nov. 19, 2022, at 10:31 P.M, a shuttle returning to campus from Boston crashed, killing student Vanessa Mark and injuring 27 other passengers. In July, the University shared safety review records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which detailed the crash’ causes, including violations that Joseph’s Transportation committed prior to the accident.
The investigation of Joseph’s Transportation and the bus crash began on Nov. 25, 2022. The crash report includes findings about the company itself, the driver, violations committed, and recommended remedies for Joseph’s Transportation to implement. The bus driver was a full-time student outside of Brandeis and worked for two transportation companies, including Joseph’s Transportation. Neither company was aware that the driver had two jobs. At the time of the accident, the driver was in violation for working over 70 hours in a week. Joseph’s Transportation adjusted the bus driver’s hours on the morning of the crash, as they realized the driver was close to exceeding the weekly driving limit.
The speed limit at that section of South Street is 30 miles per hour, but the driver was going 54 mph at the time of the crash, according to the report.
Going forward, Brandeis administration continues to take interest in safely providing transportation services.
In the interest of safety and efficiency, Brandeis administration created the role of Transportation System Manager, who is specifically responsible for ensuring the safety of the University’s transportation; however, the position is yet to be filled. Brandeis also dissolved their contract with Joseph’s Transportation and replaced them with DPV Transportation, a company based in Everett, Massachusetts. DPV Transportation has already been in use so far this year for shuttle routes around campus, Waltham, and the Boston-Cambridge area. In addition, Brandeis’ new safety developments include the Tripshot app’s implementation; monitoring bus speed, braking, and acceleration; as well as ensuring that all vehicles have seatbelts. The shuttle remains an important resource for students, especially with the lack of a T-station nearby and with rules in place only allowing juniors and seniors to have cars on campus, with minor exceptions. The on-campus shuttle service also allows students who live in the Charles River Apartments and the 567 South Street apartments to access the rest of campus– except for the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center– more efficiently.
Students with disabilities also need to have access to shuttle services for day to day life. Overall, Matt Rushton, chief of Public Safety, and Lois Stanley, vice president of Campus Operations, reported that the shuttles provide students with the ability to travel to grocery stores and pharmacies as well as educational and work opportunities.
After the accident, shuttle services were suspended until the beginning of spring semester 2023 in order for the University to implement a new plan for safe transportation. Accessing Waltham and the Boston area became more difficult and less cost efficient for students during that time.
“The aftermath of this accident has been difficult for our community. As we look to the future of transportation at Brandeis, we will continue to remember its effects and support our students,” according to Rushton and Stanley.