The National Traffic Safety Bureau (NTSB) is known for investigating airplane crashes and train crashes. The agency also may investigate any and all highway incidents and accidents and takes an interest in railway accidents and accidents that involve the release of hazardous materials that are in transit. This can include fuel trucks and other commercial vehicles carrying materials deemed toxic or hazardous. Based on their investigations, the NTSB may make safety recommendations to both federal and state governments but has no authority to enforce their recommendations. The government shutdown has delayed investigation into several accidents, including one involving a church bus headed for Disney World, as News 4 Jacksonville reports.
A highway crash that claimed the lives of seven people, five of them children, occurred on January 3rd on I-75 Southbound near Gainesville, Florida. The church bus, which was carrying the children, became involved with a fiery crash that occurred between two tractor trailers. The two truck drivers also died in the crash.
This is just one of several accidents that the government shutdown has delayed an NTSB investigation. As the weeks have passed, critical evidence that could have been found at the scene of the accidents has been lost. On January 30th, the agency announced that it will be investigating the deadly Florida crash. They will be sending an 8-member team to head up the investigation and will be assisted by the work previously done by the Florida Highway Patrol.
At this point, whether the agency sends their teams to the actual site of the investigation or to the wreckage storage facility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.